(La Porte County, IN) - A local official wants to make sure the courthouse in La Porte doesn’t lose any of its history when the time comes to renovate the well-over century-old structure.
La Porte County Commissioner Joe Haney said the courthouse in Michigan City was not maintained as well as it should have been over the years before being renovated.
He said much of the inside of the courthouse along U.S. 12 had to be “gutted” because of advanced deterioration that could have been prevented through more regular maintenance.
Haney said the Michigan City courthouse looks great now that the work is finished, but he wants to avoid the same mistakes before it’s time to renovate the courthouse in La Porte.
“There was an insane amount of history that was lost at the Michigan City courthouse. If we don’t get a handle and start repairing and upgrading and stabilizing that courthouse building, the exact same thing is going to happen right here in the city of La Porte that happened in Michigan City,” Haney said.
Haney intends to start working on a plan to catch up on the maintenance of the La Porte courthouse on all levels, including the basement, to keep from losing history when the renovation of that courthouse happens at some point.
“The woodwork in there. Some of the tile work. The old panels. The stained glass. It’s a beautiful piece of history,” Haney said.
Officials said the courthouse in La Porte would be renovated once the recently completed renovation and expansion of the Michigan City courthouse, built in 1909, is paid off.
The cost of the work in Michigan City was about $20 million. The financing is for 20 years but could be paid off in 10 years or less.
La Porte County Commissioner Rich Mrozinski said the decision to renovate the courthouse in La Porte after paying for the work in Michigan City was made a few years. He said the courthouse in La Porte has problems like any old structure but questioned the need to make too many repairs before the renovation.
“This courthouse is next. In the meantime, we’re not going to go doing piecemeal work here and there when it’s going to be done all at once,” Mrozinski said.