It looks like a scene from Back to the Future. The clock in the Historic Parker County Courthouse clock tower is busted. But what you won't see Marty McFly zipping down Main Street in a DeLorean to go back in time. In fact, the clock tower wasn't even struck by lightning. Truth is time ravages all things, and the clock's mechanism has fallen prey to the very thing it keeps - time.
Scaffolding continues to be put into place and workers will soon begin to fix the clocks, replace the roof, and replace the windows on the iconic structure built from 1884-86.
"This has been a long process," Parker County Judge Mark Riley said. "When you are dealing with historic buildings, the Texas Historical Commission - (THC) and multiple insurance companies, things can get drawn out. However, it is important that we go through the proper channels and get the work done right."
Parker County Commissioners awarded the contract to replace the roof and repair the clock and clock tower to Parson's Roofing.
"After the extensive work we've done with the Texas Historical Commission and the architect we're excited to finally be able to begin the process of restoration of the clock, the clock tower, the windows and the roof of the courthouse," Commissioner Larry Walden, who served on the Courthouse Roof Project Committee, said.
"It took multiple meetings with the state to gain their approval on the plan. It took several meetings with numerous groups, but the good news is the planning is done and work is ready to begin."
Riley said Parker County applied for a grant from the THC for financial assistance replacing the roof. Unfortunately, after months of persistence, Parker County wasn't awarded any funds as the grant money was awarded to poorer counties.
"We had to give it our due diligence," Riley said. "This isn't a simple project; it never is when dealing with historic buildings. As much as we would like to have rushed things, it just doesn't work that way."
Riley said earlier in the process, Parker County Commissioners approved a contract with Komatsu Architecture, a firm with experience in restoration of older buildings, to come up with a plan for the repair and replacement of the clock.
In the meantime, temporary repairs have been made to stop leaks that were coming from the gutter system.
"Once we had the leaks stopped, it allowed us time to not rush the project," Riley said. "We have gone through countless meetings working with Komatsu and Parson's Roofing to make sure we get this project done correctly and with minimal impact to the public and the look of the building."
Riley said he emphasized the need to limit the aesthetic impact to the courthouse.
"Parson's is working with us to minimize the impact on the courthouse lawn, which will hopefully allow us to continue our tradition of Christmas decorations," Riley said. "I have also secured a plan for the contractor's portable office building to be placed on the county's parking lot off York St. instead of the courthouse lawn."
Repair and replacement of the roof and clock tower were awarded to Parson's for the price tag of $2,891,900 plus a contingency of $395,400. Work is expected to take up to 12 months. County officials have worked with the City of Weatherford and TxDOT to deal with traffic situations that may arise from moving necessary materials onto the Courthouse Lawn, according to Riley.
Lance Winter: 817-390-7274