Holmes County courthouse restoration ready to begin

Holmes County courthouse restoration ready to begin
Dave Mast

The Holmes County Courthouse clock tower renovation project will seek to add some luster to the tower while returning it to its former glory. The Holmes County commissioners recently signed a resolution to move ahead with plans.


The Holmes County commissioners are prepared to take the county back into the old days by recreating the former appearance of the Holmes County courthouse in Millersburg.

Work on the Holmes County Courthouse Clock Tower Rehabilitation Project was passed by resolution Monday, June 29, where the Holmes County commissioners set in motion a plan to restore the courthouse to its former glory.

The Holmes County Courthouse Clock Tower Rehabilitation Project, which has been in planning stages for some time, will come at a cost of $998,965. The removal and replacement of the clock tower façade with new copper and interior tower associated work will consume the bulk of that expense.

Also included in the project will be the fabrication and installation of a new clock tower clock cupola, as well as an ornate embellishment, new metal fencing on each of the four corner dormer towers and main roof, the removal, repair and painting of a new copper base, and finally, placing the statue of Lady Justice high on the north side of the main roof gable, a position that she maintained for decades before being moved to the second floor balcony.

The restoration project will bring the courthouse back to the appearance it had many years ago when it was first built. That prospect is an exciting one for the commissioners, who believe the courthouse is a beautiful attraction for Historic Downtown Millersburg.

Midstate Contractors, Inc. out of Marion was selected to do the reparations and the commissioners are excited about the project finally taking shape. The commissioners have been setting aside capital improvement money for the project for some time and were glad to see it come in with a cost of less than $1 million.

The commissioners looked at using steel for the project but felt that the need to continually update and paint the tower would be burdensome. They opted instead for copper, which is much more maintenance-friendly. They also looked at the option of trying to make minor improvements as the clocktower currently stands, but that too would not be a long-term answer.

Much of the work on the copper shell of the courthouse clocktower will be done off-site, with Midstate molding the copper pieces in their sheet metal building. The project will see Midstate put a large tent over scaffolding around the courthouse during restoration.

“We are thinking that this is going to last a long time,” Miller said of the restoration project being proposed. “We are going to have some lights that are going to make it look really pretty.

“These old buildings aren’t cheap, but they are important, and people really want to restore them and see them kept up.”

According to the Holmes County commissioners, Holmes County Municipal Court Judge Andrew Hyde will put $180,000 of funds from a discretionary fund toward the project, which is slated to begin sometime in July, with the hope of finishing the project before cold weather sets in.

In other county news, the commissioners passed Resolution #06-29-20-1, authorizing the replacement of a renewal to levy sales and use tax for the purpose of providing additional revenue for county permanent improvements for a five-year period.

This resolution is the tax that helps generate funds to provide road repair in the county, one the commissioners deemed extremely necessary.

“This is a tax we put on almost five years ago, and it was well worth it,” Miller said. “A lot of people have had really good comments on it. (Holmes County engineer Chris Young) is doing about 25 to 30 miles of road each year.”

Commissioner Rob Ault said that after this year’s road work is completed, half of the roads in the county will have had road work done, with the other half of the Holmes County’s county roads slated to receive repair within the next five years.

The commissioners also signed Resolution #06-29-20-4, accepting a property access agreement with Campbell Oil for the purchase of the land directly to the east of the courthouse that was once the BP Station.

The resolution states that Campbell Oil will maintain the responsibility of the environmental monitoring of the land for three decades. The building on the land is slated to become the new home of the Holmes County Ohio State University Extension Office.

“They will be taking any responsibility for any environmental problems that would need attention,” Ault said.

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