Renovations to the Historic Burke County Courthouse Square began this week, as contractors completed demolition of the Jailhouse Gallery.
In order for contractors to work freely, and to keep citizens safe when they are near the construction site, a fence has been placed around the entirety of the Courthouse Square. The fence will remain in place for the duration of the project, which is expected to be complete by summer 2021.
The renovations to the Courthouse Square will see the construction of a new amphitheater, common area, and green space on the southern end of the property that everyone will be able to enjoy. As part of these renovations, the stone wall surrounding the square is being restored.
Currently, the original stones are being removed from a portion of the wall that borders North Green Street. These stones are being kept, and once structural improvements are made, the wall will be rebuilt using the original stones.
“This particular section of the stone wall is failing, and after a great deal of review with engineers, stone masons and architects, it was determined the best way to extend its life was to rebuild it,” said Director of the Department of Cultural and Creative Development Sharon Jablonski. “Restoring the rock wall is paramount to ensuring that the Courthouse Square will be an enjoyable and safe place for people to enjoy for generations to come.”
The transformation of the Historic Burke County Courthouse Square has been a decades-long effort. Morganton’s vision for the square to become a gathering space for the community was first laid out in the 1996 Downtown Master Plan. In the 2018 Downtown Master Plan, renovating the Courthouse Square was identified as one of our community’s top priorities. Both Master Plans were completed with extensive input and feedback from the community. Upon its completion, it will bring to life one of the community’s longstanding goals to make the Courthouse Square the center of community life in Downtown Morganton.
“We could not be more excited for the public to see the transformation of the Courthouse Square,” said Main Street Manager Abby Nelson. “We know blocking off the square is a minor inconvenience, but the end result will lead to great progress and prosperity for our community. We want to thank everyone for their understanding and patience while we complete this project. We know when it is complete, the final product will be loved by our community.”
The City’s Main Street Office will be providing monthly updates about the project on their website, at www.downtownmorganton.com. Visit downtown’s website regularly to see photos, videos, and updates about the project.