A historic Central Illinois Courthouse is undergoing major renovations, thanks to a $1 million investment through the Rebuild Illinois statewide construction plan. The Macoupin County Courthouse in Carlinville was built in 1867 for one million dollars. Upkeep on the building by the county had become disproportionate over the years.
48th District State Senator Andy Manar served on the Macoupin County Board from 2003 to 2012. Manar received firsthand knowledge about the mammoth costs it took to maintain the historic structure while he was Macoupin County Board member from 2003-2012.
Manar says he made it a campaign promise when he ran for Senate to find a way to get the renovations and upkeep on the building completed without causing more of a property tax burden to Macoupin County residents. He says if the county had to maintain the building on its own, it would have to more than double property taxes, which would be impossible due to Truth in Taxation laws and just be illogical.
The top of the courthouse received three coats of paint while the remaining coats of paint and roof repairs are set to commence in the Spring. Critical repairs to the courthouse roof structure and dome are also being made. The project is being carried out by Joiner Sheet Metal of Highland.
The building is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been named one of Illinois’ great places by the American Institute of Architects. Years of delayed maintenance on the building had caused severe discoloration and disrepair to the large dome.
Manar says its size and original cost in the 19th Century make it a vital part of Macoupin County. According to Manar, the Macoupin County Courthouse is the largest in the United States.
Macoupin County Board member Harry Starr said in a press release that the renovations represent a monumental change in the county, and is once again a point of pride for the citizens of the county. Sheriff Shawn Kahl says the renovations have been a blessing to the community of Carlinville as many people have come to view the work in progress. The project is expected to be completed in the upcoming Spring.