By JESSIE HORTON
ERATH COUNTY (March 29, 2016) – The Erath County Courthouse is still standing after the recent EF1 tornado blew through town and destroyed many homes and did major damage at other local businesses.
According to Erath County Facilities Manager John Wooley, the courthouse wasn’t closed a single day due to storm damage. Despite loosing a number of windows, including a 25×8 window that is being hand-repaired, and sustaining major roof and floor damage as well, the county staff were in the building every day.
“We’ve put temporary glass in a majority of the windows while the frames are being reconstructed, we had the roof repaired by a Water Damage and Roofing Cedar Park company within days of the storm and the damage to the bell tower and the floor on the second floor is scheduled to begin within the next few weeks,” Wooley said. “We came to work as soon as we could and got back in commission. But the entire process is a long one.”
Wooley said because the courthouse is a historical landmark, the entire process has to first be approved by the Texas Historical Commission before the Texas Association of Counties can even consider the county for reimbursement.
He explained the THC has already come and done a walkthrough and approved all the suggested repairs to the building. The next step, according to Wooley, is to have all the repairs done and the county will cover the cost upfront. Then the TAC Risk Pool, which the county is a part of and pays into each year, will reimburse the county for the cost of the repairs.
“And while the funds will be refunded to the county, it will be a substantial ticket,” said Wooley. “Some of those window frames are wooden and were destroyed by the pressure as the storm moved through here, that one 25-foot window has to be specially made and brought in here, the building itself is made of stone and not brick, the roof was damaged again. All those things will add up.”
Wooley has met with the Texas Historical Commission already and said the Texas Association of Counties insurance people would be meeting with him on Friday to discuss moving forward.
“The county has a good group of employees who came up here and did what was need right after the storm and we’ve moved forward well,” Wooley concluded. “We continue to make needed repairs where we can and have plans to make the other needed repairs moving forward with TAC.”