The future of the Old Courthouse may become clearer by the end of the year.
Woodstock City Council members have approved a $27,220 contract with Gary W. Anderson Architects to create a master plan for the Old Courthouse complex, which includes the historic courthouse building and old Sheriff’s House and Jail on the Square.
The city has been in the process of renovating, repairing and restoring the historic buildings that it acquired in 2011. The goal is to make use of the properties, but the city first must find a sustainable use, ensure the buildings are repaired and completely habitable and find a developer.
Council member Jim Prindiville said he didn’t want to move forward with another study that aims to continue to bring private businesses into the city-owned property.
“I am concerned that the further we go down this path, the greater the lost opportunity becomes to return these important historical buildings to a civic use,” he said.
In the past, the city has conducted feasibility and future use studies on the property, even before including a $9,000 “co-working” study in November and an Artspace future use study paid for with a $20,000 grant in 2016.
Some council members said they hope this study will narrow down the list of potential uses to only a few, including what work would need to be completed before those uses could come to fruition.
“I think it’s important to be able to understand what types of improvements go on in the building that will have an effect on users we can attract,” council member Mark Saladin said. “I think it’s beneficial for the city as we continue to search for a proper use for the Old Courthouse.”