Mar 252015

By Tammy Gray

A $30,000 grant application could result in a new roof for the historic Navajo County courthouse in downtown Holbrook.

Navajo County staff members are working on a grant submission to the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. The program offers financial assistance to further the goal of “preservation of the most significant and representative buildings, structures, road segments, and cultural landscapes along the length of the Route 66 corridor, covering Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.”

Grants offered through the program are competitive and there is no guarantee the funds will be awarded for the courthouse roof. If the application is successful, however, Navajo County will be required to match the grant dollar for dollar. That match may be made in the form of in-kind labor, which is how the county intends to pay for its portion of the grant. The Board of Supervisors was expected to approve the grant match commitment at a meeting on Tuesday morning.

Community Services Director Lynda Young noted that the county owns the building and is responsible for its upkeep. She also pointed out that if the grant is successful, the roof will have to be replaced according to Arizona State Historic Preservation Office standards. The building must also be maintained according to the requirements set forth in the grant agreement.

The roof on the old courthouse has needed replaced for some time, and officials have been searching for a funding solution since a 2012 preservation report identified it as a top priority. The report states, “Water infiltration from the roof is causing damage to the courtroom ceiling and traveling along the walls, probably causing damage to the north wall and ceiling of the area above the jail; also damage to the interior walls below the tower area.” It does note, however, that the roof’s support structure appears to be in good condition.

At the time of the report, architects estimated that roof repairs could cost anywhere from $16,500 for replacing only damaged shingles to $85,500 for an entirely new roof. To prevent continued damage, the authors of the report recommended replacing all of the roofing materials.

If roof repairs are completed, repairing damage to the brick walls is next on the list of priorities for preserving the courthouse, according to the report. The authors of the report estimated that nearly $105,000 is needed for masons to fill holes, eliminate cracks and stop water erosion among the bricks. Altogether, the courthouse needs an estimated $206,800 in preservation work, with the roof being the first step.

Although interior work was given a low priority in the report since it is mainly cosmetic in nature, volunteers have patched and painted walls and ceilings in the courthouse to keep it looking presentable following damage caused by water leaking from the roof. A recommendation by the report to replace the steam boiler has already been accomplished by the City of Holbrook.

Navajo County will be notified by May 8 regarding whether the grant for the roof was awarded.