Tuesday August 04, 2020

A virtual look at history in the making

Cabarrus County is in the early stages of constructing the fifth courthouse in its 228-year history. Officials will celebrate the occasion with a virtual groundbreaking ceremony – the County’s first such event – that will make history of its own while featuring a live painting presentation by ClearWater Arts Center and Studios oil painter, Kevin Harris.

The public can participate via a live broadcast, Thursday, August 6 at 4:30 p.m. on the County’s Facebook page and YouTube channel @CabarrusCounty. Following social distancing and mass gathering protocols, a limited number of officials working on the project will participate in-person.

As Harris puts the finishing touches on his courthouse rendering, County leaders and courthouse partners will share remarks on the project. Onsite and virtual participants can take part in interactive fact stations with QR codes that lead to Courthouse stories, as told by Judge Clarence Horton, a local historian and the host of Cabarrus County Television’s award-winning documentary “Historical Moments.”

Harris’ art will become a permanent installation at the new courthouse.

While the experience differs from past ceremonies, Cabarrus County Outreach Coordinator Dominique Clark hopes the virtual opportunity will generate interest in the public features of the courthouse.

“It’s a challenge to create an experience that appropriately celebrates this historic event amid a pandemic,” said Clark. “We want to come together. Creating a virtual component gives our entire community access to the experience from a safe location of their choosing.”

Commissioners approved the five-year, 250,000-square-foot renovation and expansion in 2019. The project is expected to continue through early 2023.

“The design of the building and the addition of a public plaza will transform the look and feel of downtown Concord,” said Steve Morris, Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners chair. “The courthouse will become a symbol of growth and resilience during a trying time in history. Because we’re going virtual, every member of our community has the opportunity to be part of the celebration.”

Construction on the Courthouse project began earlier this year with crews working mainly nights inside the existing Courthouse. The ceremony marks the start of the first large-scale publicly visible work.

Construction impacts

Local businesses remain open during the expansion/renovation project. Current impacts on traffic include the closing of a stretch of Union Street near the intersection of Means Avenue in downtown Concord through August 28 and intermittent lane closures around the construction site for the duration of the project.

For more information on the shops, restaurants and businesses of downtown Concord, visit www.concorddowntown.com.

For more information on the courthouse construction project, including video updates, renderings and construction announcements, visit https://cabarruscounty.us/resources/courthouse-construction-project.

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