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2010-07-22 digital edition

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2010-07-22 / General Stories

Texas Land Title Association Renews Commitment To Helping Save Historic Texas Courthouses

With more historic county courthouses than any other state, Texas is privileged to house more than 235 temples of justice that are at least 50 years old. The Texas Historical Commission’s award-wining Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program has made possible the complete restoration of more than 40 of these structures, but the continued support of the Texas Land Title Association (TLTA) ensures these beautiful buildings maintain their newly restored glory. Now in its fifth year of support, TLTA has provided grants enabling the THC to offer its successful Texas Courthouse Stewardship Workshop program. TLTA has recommitted a generous grant for the 2011 workshop, renewing its support to this unique public/private partnership that provides needed training and technical assistance to newly restored historic county courthouses. “Texas Land Title Association members, including title insurance agents and underwriting companies, are proud to continue this partnership with the Texas Historical Commission in preserving historic county courthouses.” says Brian Pitman, president of the TLTA Board of Directors. “As guardians of the records and deeds of ownership of home and property, historic county courthouses need to be safe- guarded and the Courthouse Stewardship Workshop program creates a public-private partnership to help accomplish this goal.”

The Texas Courthouse Stewardship Workshop program was created in 2005 to provide training and maintenance guidance to counties with courthouses recently restored through the THC’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. As a component of the workshop, TLTA recognizes counties displaying exemplary stewardship of their historic courthouses with awards of honor. Johnson County was a recipient of a 2010 TLTA Texas Historic Courthouse Stewardship Award of Honor because of the foresight of local officials. The Beaux Art style courthouse was restored through the THC’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program in 2008 and the county was proactive in providing training to its custodial and maintenance staff, establishing a “cushion fund” to account for future repair needs.

“The guidance provided by the Texas Historical Commission and the support we’ve received by participating in the Texas Courthouse Stewardship Workshop program has enabled us to plan for the bright future of our historic courthouse,” said Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon. “We knew we could not let our beautifully restored courthouse fall back into disrepair and we hope to serve as inspiration for other counties with similar challenges.”

The courthouse stewardship workshops are a beneficial facet to the THC’s Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. Since its inception in 1999, the program has awarded $227 million to counties, and local governments have matched this with more than $147 million. The result has been the creation of more than 7,750 jobs and more than $17 million generated in local taxes. In 2008, the program earned national attention with a Presidential Award from the White House.

“The Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program is one of our most prominent programs and our partnership with the TLTA has established a model for preservation maintenance, continuing education and professional development,” said Mark Wolfe, the THC’s executive director. “The Courthouse Stewardship Program and our ongoing collaboration with the TLTA exemplify the pride Texans take in their history, their communities and saving the real places of our state.”

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