FLEMINGTON, NJ – County officials are hoping that state grant money will help pay for substantial repairs that are needed to the old Historic Courthouse on Main Street here.
The mission is especially important to Carrie Fellows, the long-time director of the county’s Cultural and Heritage Commission. But she’s now the county's Director of Land Use and Planning, replacing Barbara Vogel, who served less than a year in that role.
Working with county Architect Frank Bell, the two won approval from county Freeholders last week to apply for a grant from the state Historic Trust to help pay for the work.
The grant would allow for major work to the landmark building that would include “repairs, renovations and upgrades,” Fellows said.
Bell said there are “significant water leaks on the interior of the jail” at the Courthouse and water leaks along the building’s Court Street side.
A consultant is working with Bell and using infrared technology, “We’re finding a lot of darker areas where water is penetrating into those walls,” Bell said.
The Courthouse last had major exterior work done in 2000, Fellows said, with the interior being finished four years later. Those two renovations were completed using $1.5 million in grants funds from the Historic Trust.
The county will now apply for another $750,000 in state grant money. If awarded, the county would be required to match 50 percent of the grant.
Results of the grant application probably would be released in January or February, Fellows said. Acceptance of the grant requires will require continued preservation of the historic property, limitations on any change of use, and continued public access to the building.
The Freeholders unanimously approved the grant application. Freeholder Director Suzanne Lagay noted that the Courthouse is not only a significant historic resource for Hunterdon, but a “national historic resource” as well.