Warren County Supervisors discuss grant for Old Courthouse wall repairs

Published 4:28 pm Thursday, September 30, 2021

The Warren County Board of Supervisors on Monday discussed a grant to help repair portions of the Old Courthouse wall which collapsed in 2019.

District 5 Supervisor Kelle Barfield delivered a report on a grant the county was completing for funding from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The estimate for full repairs to the Old Courthouse exceeds $1.8 million, she said, and MDAH only has $3.3 million earmarked for such projects across the state.

However, Barfield presented a solution. The worst parts of the retaining wall are on the west and north side of the courthouse square, she pointed out, and it might be possible to fund those repairs alone.

“Best case, we might hope for the restoration of the collapsed west side as well as the north side, which, a good bit of that is there’s some erosion, there are some fallen bricks from 20 years ago and they had to close the gate on that side, because that wall has all the tree coverage with it and lots of biological intrusion and moss and all kinds of stuff,” Barfield said. “I would propose a revised estimate that looks only at the funding of the stabilization and drainage, which together are about $55,000, but only the restoration of the north and west walls at this time.”

If the county chooses this option, that would mean Warren County would seek $750,000 from MDAH and provide a 20-percent match of $186,000. She said $80,000 was already budgeted by the county for such projects, and $160,000 would come from the county’s general fund.

Barfield said the issue is not a matter of whether the county would get the funding, but rather how much MDAH will be able to allocate.

“MDAH is well aware of the relative urgency,” Barfield said. “This is a need-to-do, not nice-to-do, project in their mind, and so I do know they will support it.”

Another option mentioned was to seek American Rescue Plan funds from the state of Mississippi, or efforts to secure a portion of the $186,000 from the state.

The board of supervisors will further discuss the grant application during its meeting on Monday, Oct. 4.