Local News

Chatham gets $25M federal loan for judicial center

Posted October 20, 2010

— Chatham County on Wednesday received a $25 million federal loan to expedite construction of its judicial center in the wake of a fire that gutted the county's landmark courthouse.

A March 25 fire gutted the building, which was built in 1881, and caused its iconic clock tower to collapse. Authorities determined the fire was accidentally started by workers involved in an exterior renovation and that the blaze quickly spread in the building's attic.

County officials already planned to move all court functions to a judicial center being built two blocks south of the courthouse, but the fire made the need for the new building more urgent.

Superior Court cases are being heard in the auditorium of the county agricultural building, and office space has been rented to house prosecutors and probation officers.

The judicial center is expected to open in 18 to 24 months.

The county plans to rebuild the historic courthouse, and the new building will include a courtroom, space for the Chatham Historical Association, museum space, a possible visitors' center, meeting space and art displays.


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  • Adelinthe Oct 20, 2010

    I understand this loan is so the NEW building which was underway to begin with can be completed more quickly than originally anticipated due to the fire, but why isn't the contractor whose worker started the fire paying to reconstruct the old courthouse?

    God bless.


  • lumberman Oct 20, 2010

    Why isn't the company responsible for the fire putting up the money to rebuild the court house or at least part of it. No insurance ?

  • tbajr Oct 20, 2010

    A federal loan! How is this to be paid back? What does the federal government get out of this? What rights do we give up for this?

  • sarahsoandso Oct 20, 2010

    $25 MILLION dollar federal 'loan'? Say what now?