Courthouse will be illuminated for celebration

As the Greater Salisbury Committee’s gift to the community, the historic Wicomico County Courthouse will soon be illuminated in spectacular fashion.

For years the face of the courthouse clock tower has been lit and visible from points around town, but soon the entire historic structure will be lit up every night of the year, said Mike Dunn, GSC’s President and CEO of the Greater Salisbury Committee.

“We think it’s going to be extraordinary,” Dunn  said.

This lighting project will be unveiled at 3rd Friday on Sept. 15, as the county celebrates the exterior renovations of the historic building as part of Wicomico’s 150th birthday celebration.

Nearly a year ago Dunn suggested this project, knowing that the GSC will be turning 50 just as Wicomico County turns 150. He had learned about the uplighting of the historic Savannah, Ga., courthouse and thought that would be a great idea for Salisbury.

“I suggested that this would be the Greater Salisbury Committee’s gift to the county. I think it will be spectacular,” said Dunn, “It’s our most historically significant building.”

Dunn presented the idea to County Executive Bob Culver, who immediately loved it.

The lighting work will be performed by Yard Designs Inc. of Salisbury, which handles a wide variety of exterior outdoor landscaping and construction projects.

“This is not an unusual project for Yard Designs in scope or complexity,” said owner Bryan LeCompte, “It’s what we do.”

According to LeCompte and Robert Parker, master electrician for the company, the work will be coordinated with the county’s exterior restoration project for the courthouse.

Yard Designs will be adding low-voltage landscape-accent lighting to the front and sides of the historic portion of the courthouse, and also provide accent lighting to the front trees. The work will continue throughout the summer.

The cost of the uplighting project is estimated between $30,000 and $40,000. The Greater Salisbury Committee Foundation has contributed $5,000 to the project and is now seeking contributions from a few of the local foundations and from members of the public.

Following the September 1st Friday events, on Saturday, Sept. 16, GSC will also be holding a formal gala at Salisbury University’s Academic Commons. As Dunn explains it, instead of throwing their own gala to celebrate their special anniversary, GSC wants  the gala to celebrate both their 50th year and Wicomico County’s 150th year.

Tickets for the gala will be $150 per person; $50 from each ticket will go toward funding of the uplighting project.

Electrician Robert Parker said he can’t wait to see the results of the project.

“I’m excited about it, because I’ve lived in Wicomico County my whole life,” Parker said. “My mom worked right in that old courthouse, in the Assessment Office in the late ’50s and ’60s.  I used to go there all the time.”

Culver saluted the effort of GSC and other potential nonprofits to improve a county landmark.

“We are very pleased that the Greater Salisbury Committee is spearheading the uplighting and fundraising for the project,” Culver said. “It will be a great addition to showcase the history of the county courthouse with the restoration that is happening now.”

And the word “showcase” is the best description. In this year, as the Greater Salisbury Committee and Wicomico County focus spotlights on their history, the county’s most beloved landmark will proudly shine for all who visit and enjoy downtown Salisbury.   

 

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