Haywood County leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday on the steps of the newly renovated historic courthouse.
The $8.2 million renovations to the 1932 courthouse have been a long time in the making. The project has been under discussion since the late 1990s, when the county began studying a plan to address cramped and inadequate court facilities. The result was a new justice center to house court functions, with the historic courthouse being remodeled to house county offices.
While the price tag of the projects has been the source of public controversy, county leaders say they made the right decision for the future.
“I hope they will look back and say our forefathers did us right,” said County Commissioner Chairman Kirk Kirkpatrick.
Speakers at the ceremony lauded the restoration for accommodating the modern needs — such as elevators for the handicapped to high-tech computer wiring — while still preserving the historic aspects of the building.
“Haywood County citizens have long been committed to their roots while at the same time cognizant of their future,” said Marlene, an longtime Superior Court Judge who recently retired.
While a newly constructed justice center the new home for trials, records and court functions, it will never take the place in people’s hearts as the “courthouse,” said Glenn Brown, a former district attorney who spoke at the ribbon cutting.