Letters to the Editor

Setting record straight on old courthouse

Lexington’s old courthouse renovation is scheduled to include a restaurant, the local tourism bureau, office for the Breeders’ Cup and event space to lease.
Lexington’s old courthouse renovation is scheduled to include a restaurant, the local tourism bureau, office for the Breeders’ Cup and event space to lease. cbertram@herald-leader.com

A Dec. 6 article perpetuates the myth that the renovated Old Courthouse was closed in 2011 when asbestos and other hazardous material was discovered. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, when the Lexington History Museum opened in the Old Courthouse as the result of a settlement between former Mayor Pam Miller and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, which also resulted in the renovation of the Lyric Theatre and the creation of the Downtown Arts Center, there already existed signs in the dome warning of the presence of asbestos and lead paint.

Those signs had clearly been present for many years. For the record, any structure built before 1978 most likely contains both asbestos and lead paint — including the city government center, as well as many other downtown buildings.

As former president of the museum, I do not know why Mayor Jim Gray decided to close this building, while allowing the other government-owned structures built prior to 1978 to remain open. I also know, as a former writer for the Associated Press and assistant news director at WLEX-TV, fake news when I see it.

James Kemper Millard

Lexington

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