Courthouse roof under reconstruction after May tornado

Ty Thompson
Press Argus-Courier

After the May 3 Tornado that made its way through Van Buren and the rest of the county, damage to the courthouse roof is currently being fixed. The estimated time for the repairs to be fixed will be the beginning of August.  

The Crawford County Quorum Court met on June 21 and passed a resolution expressing their willingness to utilize Arkansas Economic Development Commission (AEDC) funds. These funds will be utilized to repair the roof of the courthouse. 

Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap applied for a Historic Preservation grant but the application was not accepted. A grant of $247,000 was approved by the AEDC and will be used for roof repairs.

According to Gilstrap, insurance will be taking care of the initial parts where damage was sustained. 

The grant will be utilized for an area of the roof where the standing seam was ripped away. The resolution states that granting funds through this agreement from commission to grantee has been approved by the executive director of the AEDC and Gov. Asa Hutchinson. 

"With the issue where part of the standing seam was ripped off, they were going to have to tie it back into the old standing seam. It would have never been right," Gilstrap said. 

With the grant, they will be able to replace the standing seam for the roof to be in its best condition.

"We'll get a roof on the course thanks to the insurance and the grant," Gilstrap said. 

Due to the damaged roof, the Division I courtroom received a large amount of water damage. Recently, crews were working on drying out the area and removing the ceiling to repair the interior damage.

According to Gilstrap, this was a long process. The carpet in the courtroom will need to be replaced as well as new paint and lights. The pews in the courtroom were removed and stored away for their protection during the process but will be brought back once the project is finished. 

Crawford County Judge Dennis Gilstrap shows the damage done to the courthouse with U.S. sen. John Boozman and Circuit Judge Mark McCune on Friday.