The Historic 1904 Courthouse in Nogales could see needed repairs and improvements done to its courtroom and other areas now that county officials have begun seeking federal grant money to pay for a renovation plan.

The County Board of Supervisors initially approved submitting a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) application for facility enhancement, which if approved, would provide money to begin construction right away.

The CDBG program, offered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, provides grants to states, cities and counties for development projects benefiting low- and moderate-income communities.

However, former Interim Community Development Director Mary Dahl proposed amending the application, explaining that more time and money are needed to asses the damages before getting started on the work.

“We need to take a step back and use the CDBG money for what they call a ‘planning only grant,’ which will provide us with the opportunity to get a professional to take a good look at not only the courtroom, but some of the other rooms with an eye toward finishing them out and then move forward,” Dahl said at the board’s regular meeting on Wednesday.

While only a planning project is on tap, with actual repair work still to be determined, Dahl told the NI that the county’s ultimate goal is to restore the historic courtroom. She added that the planning phase of the project would begin if the grant is awarded later this year.

As illustrated by a photo page published in the Aug. 16 edition of the Nogales International, the walls of the historic courtroom have been stripped of their plasterboard and are crumbling and showing water damage. Damage to walls and molding is also apparent on the second floor of the main hallway.

“I think it’s been a longstanding project and it’s a historical resource for the county,” Frank Dillon, the county’s recently hired community development director, told the NI. “It was a good project to apply funds for the historic building because, ultimately, we want to preserve it.”

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