GULF COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — Residents in the town of Wewahitchka are working to preserve local history.
They gathered tonight at the Lake Alice Park pavilion to discuss the importance of maintaining historic buildings.
Residents believe the old courthouse, as well as other buildings, need repairs now to avoid losing them in the future.
“We were heavily damaged greatly by Hurricane Michael,” said Jodi Ruston, a concerned community member. “We had a lot of buildings damaged.”
Ruston said worst off was the old Gulf County Courthouse.
“They have seen some neglect and it is time to take that first step to turn around,” said Ruston.
After seeing the city hall torn down, members of the Wewahitchka community knew it was time to do something to preserve their historic buildings.
“We would like to see those repurposed,” said Ruston. “Reused and restored just so we can keep them because once they are gone they are gone.”
Ruston said the courthouse has been empty for a while, and she said that is the worst thing you can do to a building.
Sharon Gaskon’s non-profit business was housed inside the courthouse before Hurricane Michael.
“After the hurricane, we had to get out of there because mitigating was going to other places,” said Gaskon. “The priority was not to mitigate the roof. The roof was 50 percent destroyed.”
The roof has since been patched, but Gaskon and Ruston want to bring this building back to life.
“I look forward to speaking with our community leaders and elected officials,” said Gaskon.
The old courthouse is completely vacant right now, but this community group has planned future meetings to gather more information and objectives before reaching out to community leaders for their support.