Madison County has received $164,019 in Phase 1 funding for an elevator to be installed in the courthouse, according to a news release Tuesday from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.

The money is from the 2020 County Courthouse Restoration Grants, which totaled more than $1.6 million this year, a news release said.

Madison County Judge Frank Weaver said Tuesday that an elevator in the courthouse has been discussed and planned for years. The next step is for Clements & Associates in North Little Rock to draw up plans for the elevator to be installed. Weaver said the company submitted preliminary plans in order to get AHPP funding.

Weaver said after plans are accepted bids will be let out for the elevator. It is possible that work could begin early in 2020, he said on Tuesday.

The AHPP news release Tuesday said the courthouse in many communities is vital.

“The courthouse is often the most beautiful, iconic structure in the county and the life of every citizen intersects with their courthouse in some way,” said Stacy Hurst, Department of Arkansas Heritage director and state historic preservation officer.

“The Courthouse Restoration Grants provide vital funding to help maintain these historic properties so that they can continue being the focal points of downtowns across our state.”

The restoration grants have been given since 1988. “It is funded primarily by an annual grant to the AHPP by the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) using Real Estate Transfer Tax (RETT) funds, the release said.

“The purpose of the County Courthouse Restoration Grant program is to encourage and promote the preservation and continued use of Arkansas’s historic courthouses by providing financial assistance for restoration, selected maintenance and accessibility projects.

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