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SEVIER COURTHOUSE GETTING ITS 1ST FACE LIFT IN 20 YEARS

The Sevier County Courthouse will get its first significant upgrading in 20 years, and seven acres of county-owned property will be used to develop a heritage park and visitor center in Richfield.

The action by the County Commission will improve the courthouse at a cost of about $60,000, according to Steve Wall, county clerk/auditor. Some $40,000 will be spent for new carpeting of the main floor and basement and $20,000 for painting under contracts with Fashion Carpets and Drapery and Mike Warenski, both of Richfield.Wall said the roof was replaced several years ago because it leaked. County commissioners were faced with roof problems for several years, beginning shortly after the building was constructed 20 years ago.

Part of the courthouse has outlived its initial purpose.

The jail, the sheriff's department, the county attorney and the state courts will move to a new $9 million justice complex in the northeast sector of Richfield. Wall reported construction is ahead of schedule and the facility is expected to be ready for occupancy by July 1.

The complex will also house the Utah Highway Patrol offices and dispatch center.

The move will leave needed space in the courthouse for county offices, Wall said. Continuing to be housed in the courthouse will be the Sevier County Justice Court, Utah State Tax Commission, Six County organization, Utah Department of Agriculture and the Utah State University Extension Ser-vice.

Space may be available for other offices and some of it will be utilized for storage. The use of the jail, attorney's office and courtroom has not yet been determined, the clerk said.

Meanwhile, the county property that commissioners have agreed to sell is north of the I-70 interchange. The sale is contingent on a funding package being developed by a committee that is working toward establishing the visitor information center and pioneer heritage park. Enough money must be found to defray costs of construction, operations and maintenance in a manner acceptable to the County Commission and the Richfield City Council.

The go-ahead for the committee to find property and funding was authorized by the City Council.

The 3,700-square-foot visitor center would also house the Richfield Chamber of Commerce and the Sevier County Travel Council and possibly Panoramaland and county economic development offices.

Early pioneer history would be featured in the heritage park, which would contain several cabins and other buildings. An inventory of available buildings is being conducted by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

Working on the committee are representatives of Richfield City, Sevier County Economic Development Committee, Sevier Travel Council, Richfield Chamber of Commerce, Richfield District of the Bureau of Land Management, Fishlake National Forest and the DUP.