Local attorney Grant Hedgepeth asked the Jones County Board of Supervisors in their meeting on Monday for an update on the pursuit of grants to help restore the Ellisville Courthouse and for repair progress being made to the building. He serves on a local committee formed by the supervisors to help facilitate the restoration of the courthouse. 

“If we don’t get moving, we stand to lose nearly two hundred thousand dollars,” said Hedgepeth.

He also pointed out that there was still some leaking at the Ellisville Courthouse and that some of the interior of the building was in horrendous condition, specifically citing the painting and plaster-work that needs to be completed.

County Administrator Danielle Ashley noted that she had no knowledge of any new grants being applied for, and Chancery Court Clerk Bart Gavin added that “we have gone over everything we know to look for more than once.”

According to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History website, a total of $156,894.00 was granted for the Ellisville Courthouse for roofing repair and drainage improvement back in December 2016. That money came through the Community Heritage Preservation Grant program, which is funded by the Mississippi Legislature. The grant money is paid on a reimbursable basis upon successful completion of a project.

“We’re keenly aware of the deadline on the grant and are determined to have the money spent on the Ellisville Courthouse,” stated Ronnie Clark of Chas N. Clark Associates, the County Engineer for Jones County.

Based on information from a recent report compiled by Chas N. Clark, the roofing repairs on the courthouse were completed last summer. The leaking at the Ellisville Courthouse is apparently not coming through the roof.

A segment of the report reads as follows:

“Following replacement of the roof, it was reported that water continued to enter the building. Personnel from Chas. N. Clark Associates and the Jones County Maintenance Department inspected the roof from inside the attic, and no evidence of recent roof leaks were observed. Jones County maintenance personnel also inspected the roof multiple times during significant rainfall events, and no roof leaks were observed. Any water entering the building is likely to be entering through failed joints in the terra cotta cornice, the repair of which is included in the grant agreement and will be addressed in the next phase of the project.”

The report also recorded no active termite activity, no deficiencies in the roof’s trusses and only minor deficiencies in some of the rafters.

Because of budget constraints for the project, some of the work on the courthouse – such as repairing rafters and replacing window frames – will be performed by Jones County Maintenance personnel.

Plans for the next phase of the Courthouse repair will be submitted to the MDAH soon. Once those plans are approved by MDAH, the bidding process to award contracts for needed work will be initiated.