Upgrading the Columbus County Courthouse

Reported by Gavin Johnson - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

COLUMBUS COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Columbus County officials are debating whether to remodel the standing courthouse or to just build a new one.

"It's [the courthouse] been a little outdated for what needs to be done in the judicial process," said commissioner Amon McKenzie.  "Our goal now is to put a committee together and that committee is going to come with a recommendation."

The courthouse has been a landmark in Whiteville for nearly a century, and the building has the wear and tear to prove it.  There are several holes in the windows, cracks in the walls, and the floors are worn out.

In addition to the structural damage, mold and asbestos can be found inside the courthouse, and there isn't much room - creating a fire-safety hazard.

The committee researching the need for a new courthouse will bring their findings to county commissioners in January.

Regardless of their recommendation, the building won't be demolished.

"The building is a historical site," said McKenzie. "We've had it registered as a historical site. We'll hold on to that. That's sort of like a landmark for good 'ole Columbus County. When you say Columbus County you have to think the courthouse."

Commissioners say they think it would be possible to build a new courthouse without raising taxes since the economy is improving.

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