Sports and Outdoors

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Courthouse Preservation Advisory Commission holds organizational meeting

The Courthouse Preservation Advisory Commission created by the Indiana General Assembly in 2008 held its organizational meeting in the Indiana Government Center, April 8.

Members of the commission include Chief Justice Randall Shepard of the Indiana Supreme Court, chairperson; Kathy Beumer, Randolph County commissioner; Brad Bumgardner, executive director of the Parke County Community Foundation; Honorable Stephen Cox, judge, Franklin County Circuit Court; Marsh Davis, Indianapolis, president of Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana; David Decker, representing the Association of Indiana Counties; James Glass, Indianapolis, director of the Indiana DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology; Diana Hawes, architectural historian from Bloomington; Fritz Herget, Indianapolis, engineer; Ron Ross, Fort Wayne, architect; and David Terrell, executive director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. A representative for the Indiana Association of County Commissioners has not yet been selected.

The commission is charged with two main responsibilities: (1) providing technical assistance and recommendations to county officials upon request regarding the rehabilitation and preservation of historic courthouses and (2) providing a report to the Indiana General Assembly concerning the importance of historic courthouses to the identities and economies of communities and the need for preservation of such courthouses. The report is to be submitted by August 2011.

Members attending Wednesday’s meeting expressed their enthusiasm about the value to Indiana communities and the state at large of historic courthouses and their hope that the commission will be able to provide valuable assistance to county officials.

“Courthouses send an important message to society about what we value,” Herget said.
Bumgardner said that courthouses “say a lot about who we are.” Cox said he hoped that the commission could help county officials adapt the courthouses to meet the 21st century requirements of the users.

Commission members discussed ways in which they could provide education and helpful advice to counties, including written offers of assistance to counties; regional workshops on preservation of courthouses, presentations on courthouse issues at statewide conferences of county officials, press releases, and Web sites with information on courthouses. Shepard said that the commission should ask what it can do to help counties address the issues they face with their courthouses.

The commission will form committees to develop strategies for it to pursue, and the committees will present recommendations at the next meeting for Education, Technical Assistance, and Communications. The second commission meeting will be July 1, at 1:30 p.m., Indiana Government Center, South, in Conference Room 2.

For more information, please contact Frank Hurdis, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, at (317) 232-3494 or

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