Last Friday afternoon, May 5th, representatives from the Cortland County Legislature, Sheriff’s Office, City of Cortland, and Courts gathered at the main entrance of the Cortland County Courthouse for an official groundbreaking ceremony for the needed restoration of the building.
Cortland County Legislative Chair, Kevin Fitch and Grounds Committee Chair, Paul Heider, have both emphasized the importance of restoring the courthouse to its former glory. Assemblymember Anna Kelles also assisted in getting funds from a State and Municipal Grant.
Legislative Chair Fitch began the ceremony thanking those who attended and expressed his happiness after many years, the work for the nearly 100 year old building was finally happening.
Additional speakers during the groundbreaking ceremony included Supreme Court Justice Mark Masler, Cortland County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin, and Assemblymember Anna Kelles
Funds for the restoration project came from the American Rescue Plan and Assemblymember Anna Kelles securing funds from the state.
Kelles spoke of how she made sure this project was noticed by the state when the speaker of the NY Assembly, Carl Heastie, visited Cortland County by giving him a walking tour of Cortland, including the Courthouse.
“I actually stopped talking. I let him (Heastie) observe and we got to the police tape (main entryway stairs) and he said, just let me know how much.” Kelles told to the crowd.
Kelles was able to secure $5.4 million dollars from the state for projects at the Courthouse including: Restoration of the dome and cupola, elevator, HVAC system, and entryway stairs from Courthouse Park. The county was also awarded nearly $2.3 million dollars by the Dormitory Authority of NYS.
The project is estimated to be fully completed in 2 years.