What shall we decide now?
So, the Copiah County Courthouse, which was renovated in the last decade, is enduring another round of water leaks caused by rain. The third floor was said to have been “a lake” by one courthouse worker during the rainy morning of November 10, when the Chamber hosted Veterans Day ceremony in the courtroom upstairs. All one has to do is walk through the 115 year old building and look up–at the paint and plaster peeling off the walls and ceilings at critical leak points to know the building has outlasted its useful life.
Much like our United Methodist Church, and even the building in which this newspaper is published each week, the Courthouse was built by our forefathers during a time of more relaxed or undeveloped building practices in the early part of the 20th century. Installing moisture barriers inside brick walls was not a common practice, for instance. Weather eventually takes a toll, and water is going to work its way into any little imperfection with a vengeance.
The issue today is what to do with historic buildings like the Courthouse and the Methodist Church and the newspaper office. These places are threads of the fabric of our community. They bring us together to exchange ideas and fellowship and to work together to make our communities better for following generations. Lives have been changed inside their walls. They are landmarks on the landscape and on our hearts.
Unfortunately, continual problems are kicked down the road at the expense of future generations. Repairs and renovations become more costly as more time passes. Heck, just doing monthly maintenance carries a high price. No one truly wants to deal with issues because of it. And, whether or not the problems will be solved once and for all is not guaranteed.
At some point, the time is going to come that tough decisions about sustaining an aging facility in which important county business is conducted each day will have to be made. Is the Courthouse worth saving again? Are taxpayers being servied as efficiently and effectively as possible inside the current structure? Or, would we save money in the long run by building a new facility that meets current standards and technological needs?
The most fascinating question may be this: Can we continue to increase the burden on the next generation by doing nothing now?