Crews repair stormwater damage, improve landscaping at courthouse

Published 7:46 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Carter County Courthouse has been getting a facelift this week.

The work is not just cosmetic. County officials say the work is needed to help repair structural damage that has occurred from years of stormwater erosion.

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Crews have been working to remove the damaged masonry work, make repairs and replace the bricks on the courthouse’s entrance. Older landscaping has also been removed and new plants being installed.

“Over the years, the rain and other runoff has penetrated the surface of the bricks and mortar around it,” Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey said. “Through freeze and thaw cycles, the cracks started to expand and water started seeping its way in.”

The drainage started to do minor damage to the courthouse. The bricks on the stairs to the main entrance were loosened and the water had caused water damage inside the storage room in the Clerk and Master’s office.

“The slab failed, so water started to wick inside,” Humphrey said. “We are going to grind it down, put in new mortar and then put everything back in place.”

The issues are not new to the courthouse, Humphrey said.

“This has been ongoing for a number of years,” he said. “We have been working to identify the problem and to do the repairs. This is just part of regular maintenance on an older building. This part of the courthouse dates back to the 1930s.”

While crews were working on the exterior of the courthouse, officials decided it was time to put in new landscaping as well. The large trees and bushes that were next to the doorway were removed along with plants that had died over time.

“The larger trees were probably adding to the problem,” Humphrey said.

Smaller shrubs and tress will be placed in the work area. Flowers will be planted in the raised beds and in the bed around the flagpole.

“We want the exterior of the courthouse to be aesthetically pleasing, and something we can be proud of,” he said.

Traditional plants will be used in the new landscaping plan, Assistant to the Mayor Susan Robinson said. The last time the courthouse had been landscaped was in 1989, she said.

Some of the plants that will be used include knockout roses in the raised beds, boxwood hedges along the doorway along with azaleas to add color. Daylilies will be planted around the flagpole to mirror the plants at the Monument. Magnolia and dogwood trees are also a part of the plan.

The goal is to have the work completed before the Covered Bridge Celebration begins next week.

The work is expected to cost around $4,000 for both repairs and landscaping.