Cape Girardeau County Commission votes to apply for historic register placement for Cape courthouse

Friday, July 9, 2010
The Common Pleas Courthouse was built in 1854 and sits on Lorimier Street (Fred Lynch)

At Thursday's Cape Girardeau County Commission meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a motion to proceed with the process of placing the Cape Girardeau Common Pleas Courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Steven Hoffman, coordinator of Southeast Missouri State University's historic preservation program, discussed the process and answered questions from the commissioners.

Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones expressed concern that a listing would impede future improvements and modifications to the building, which is currently in use. Jones was concerned if windows needed replaced, or if the building needed to be made more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, there would be rules and regulations impeding those actions.

Hoffman said being on the national register does not restrict any actions the owners may take in regard to the building. Hoffman stated if the county would ever try to access monies from a federal source for changes to the building there may be restrictions, but there are rules connected with money received from government agencies at all levels. The courthouse is jointly owned by the city of Cape Girardeau and Cape Girardeau County.

Hoffman told commissioners the primary advantage of being on the national register was the outside recognition of a local landmark. The designation also provides access to a variety of preservation grants.

It was such a grant that prompted the move to place the courthouse on the register. Several years ago the county received a grant from the federal government for work on the boiler in the courthouse. Because this grant was intended to be used on buildings on the register, Hoffman submitted a draft nomination at that time to get a determination of eligibility. The county was awarded the grant on the understanding the building would eventually go through the application process and be placed on the register.

With the approval of the county commission, the application will now be forwarded to a state advisory board in November before going to the national trust office in Washington, D.C., for final determination.

Also at Monday's meeting, the commission made reappointments to the Riverside Regional Library Board, the Senior Citizens Service Fund Board and the Common Sewer District Board.

The board plans to appoint a new member to the SB40 board at Monday's meeting. Applications to the committee are being accepted until the end of business Friday. If any additional applications are submitted by that time, the appointment will be postponed to a later meeting to accommodate further review.

Additional Items

* The commission approved renewing insurance on the property at 2319 Boulder Crest Dr., Cape Girardeau.

* The commission approved the Cape Girardeau County Code of Ethics, an action that is required every two years.

* The commission approved Cape Girardeau County Collector Diane Diebold's request to accept a bid from the Cashbook Journal of Jackson to publish the 2010 delinquent land tax listings at a price of $5.89 per listing, per week.

* The commission convened the board of equalization for 2010.

cbartholomew@semissourian.com

243-6635

Pertinent address:

101 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

44 N. Lorimier St., Cape Girardeau, MO

2319 Boulder Crest Dr., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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