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Woodstock nonprofit to raise money for Old Courthouse, Sheriff's House

WOODSTOCK – A new Woodstock nonprofit is aiming to raise money and awareness to assist with planning and renovations at the Old Courthouse and Sheriff’s House.

Friends of the Old Courthouse was recently made a 501(c)3 organization, Terry Willcockson said, and is planning its first fundraising event for this summer.

Willcockson, member of the Friends of the Old Courthouse board and Woodstock city grant writer, said there are six Woodstock residents on the board.

The organization was founded by Susan Stelford, Woodstock resident and art history professor at the College of Lake County, Willcockson said.

“There has sort of been a feeling that people in the community would want to contribute more to what’s going on in the Courthouse, but there just hasn’t been a vehicle to do that,” Willcockson said.

She said Friends of the Old Courthouse will support the efforts of the Old Courthouse and Sheriff's House advisory commission, which had its first meeting Monday.

The first fundraising event for Friends of the Old Courthouse will be for Dick Tracy Day on July 2, Willcockson said.

The event will celebrate the work of Chester Gould, who lived in Woodstock while working for the Chicago Tribune to draw the Dick Tracy comic strip.

It will cost an estimated $5 million to $7 million just to stabilize the buildings, according to analysis by historic preservation architect Gary Anderson & Associates.

“The Square is, to me, it is absolutely the center of this community,” board member Julie Miller said, adding the funds Friends of the Old Courthouse raises will be used for whatever the priorities are for the building.

More information on the group and upcoming events will be available on the city of Woodstock's website, the Real Woodstock website and the Friends of the Old Courthouse Facebook page.

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