ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) - Limestone County has one of the oldest functioning courthouses in the state, and a lot of people want to keep it that way. The county commission is looking at updating the structure, but in order to maintain the historical integrity of the building, any changes have to be carefully considered.
One of the most revered structures in all of Limestone County is the courthouse in Athens. it's almost a hundred years old and in need of some modernizing.
"By renovating this courthouse, it may take it 20 to 30 years down the road and it will stay as the courthouse in limestone county, and it will still have meaning and purpose," says Limestone County Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee. The project would also increase the building's functionality.
A new elevator would open the building's 4th floor, and provide some much needed space. But it would require the removal of one of the building's two original marble staircases, and that's a sore point with preservationists.
But, the open stairways would vent a fire throughout the building, plus they're just dangerous.
"You don't build steps like that anymore, i don't think. If you fall and you fall on the top, you're probably going to be dead by the time you get to the bottom," Menefee said. He says they expect to hear from the architect later this week and it'll be up to the commission to decide just how extensive the renovations will be. Menefee says his goal is to preserve the building but keep it as functional as possible.
Meanwhile the commission expects to vote on tree removal at the courthouse as early as their next meeting. Falling limbs from two old trees pose a danger to the public and plans call for having both of them removed.