While one beautification project was approved by Laurel County Fiscal Court, another was denied during last week’s regular meeting.

Magistrates accepted a plan to adopt London Downtown’s landscaping design at the Laurel County Courthouse, but decided not to place a wooden quilt square block on the courthouse.

With $5,000 in grant funding obtained by London Downtown, the courthouse will now reflect the garden decor of the rest of Main Street.

“We can place large planters with flowers like the ones in front of Elmer Cunnagin’s offices,” London Downtown Executive Director Chris Robinson told magistrates.

Hanging planters will also be added to the lamp posts in front of the courthouse.

Robinson approached the court two months ago, asking for  $10,000 in reimbursement grant funds sent to fiscal court to be designated for London Downtown beautification projects. Magistrates agreed to give half the money to London Downtown, on the condition that Robinson come back before the court with a plan to use $5,000 to update the design of the courthouse plaza.

Laurel County Judge-Executive Lawrence Kuhl said the courthouse renovation, with added office spaces and a re-designed front entrance, was planned before other downtown revitalization projects began. The courthouse has some plants along the concrete entrance, but the lamp posts are not the same as those along other businesses on Main Street.

“The other lamp posts are self-watering, and while the lamp posts we have are wired for electricity, they don’t have the irrigation system with the self-watering planters that the other (lamp posts) have,” Kuhl said in an earlier discussion. “So they will have to be watered. We’d have to tear up the concrete in front of the courthouse to put in an irrigation system and we don’t want to do that.”

Though the courthouse plaza will have a new look, magistrates did not approve a request to install a wooden quilt block on the courthouse. The idea was brought before the court by Linda Reep, who is working with the Laurel County Extension Agency’s “Quilt Project.” The Quilt Project includes placing quilt piece designs on wooden frames. Several barns and homes in the county feature these pieces.

Reep told the court  businesses are joining in the effort and that the quilt block pieces draw tourists to the area.

“Anything we can do to promote tourism in the county is good,” Reep said. “And people do call and ask if we have any of those quilt blocks in the area.”

Reep explained the quilt block pieces cost $300 and are maintained for five years.

“After that, the owners can do whatever they want with them,” she said.

Magistrate Tom Baker questioned whether placing the quilt block on the building for that time frame would contrast with the aging of the courthouse bricks.

Magistrate David Westerfield made a motion to purchase one quilt block for display on the courthouse but the motion failed to receive a second. Without a second, the motion could not pass and no vote was called.

Although Reep said she is disappointed with the outcome, she will continue to work with businesses in the area who want to display the quilt blocks.

Staff writer Nita Johnson can be reached by e-mail at njohnson@sentinel-echo.com.

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