Courthouse improvements put on hold

Building improvements project for the Blount County Courthouse have been temporarily placed on hold, county officials said recently.

Due to the nature of the state and local economy, Mayor Jerry Cunningham and Blount County maintenance director Damon Fortney have suspended the $400,000 project. The project involved several maintenance issues, including repairs to the courthouse’s leaking clock tower, the 100-year-old facility’s roof, and various brick and mortar repairs.

“There is no immediate danger to the structural integrity of the facility. We will continue to patch and catch leaks as best we can until the economic conditions improve,” Fortney said.

Part of the improvement project calls for lifting the clock tower off of the courthouse, then transporting it by truck for repairs to the Kentucky-based company that supplied and installed the original tower. Within the next few months, a much smaller brick and mortar project will be presented to the budget committee for their consideration.

“We are certainly looking at ways to reduce budgets in any way that we can across all departments,” Cunningham said. “Projects such as these that are not necessary need to be postponed. It is simply in the best interests of the local tax payers to suspend these maintenance items.”

Questions regarding the project can be directed to the Blount County mayor’s office at 865-273-5700.

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