LANDMARK’S NEW LIFE. Public tours. Possible site of new town hall

A curious crowd of mostly local residents spent Sunday afternoon strolling through what could be the future home of the town’s government.The former Litchfield County Courthouse was opened to the public by its new owner, the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust. A proposed $4.6 million conversion of the 130year-old landmark into a Town Hall would replace the existing town office building across the street.Trust representatives were on hand to greet the public, lead tours and explain the rehabilitation plan.
“If the cost is reasonable, there is a lot of sentiment to making this work as a town hall,” GLPT member Cleve Fuessenich said of the comments he’d heard during the open house. “There have been a few naysayers, but in general people have been very supportive of the idea to turn it into a town hall.”Doyle Finan, a longtime resident, is sold on the concept.
“I’m all for it,” Finan said, noting that town offices were housed in the building before the current town hall was built in 1960. “It’s a prominent building that as a town hall would add vitality to the center of town.”The GLPT bought the oldcourthouse in late October, two months after Litchfield Superior Court shut down and relocated to the new Litchfield Judicial District Courthouse in Torrington. Not long after becoming the new owner, the GLPT posed its town hall plan to the Board of Selectmen.“It makes sense to me,” said Art Coffill, another longtime resident. “We’d be preserving a building that’s centrally located and important to the town’s history.”Those visiting the second floor had a chance to chat with retired Superior Court Judge Charles D. Gill of Litchfield. Gill spent much of his long career as a judge on the bench in the second-floor courtroom. “This was my nest for many years,” Gill said of a courtroom that had his portrait hanging on the wall behind the bench. As for the fate of the building, Gill said he would prefer it continue to be used for public purposes.“Not only because of its aesthetics and history, but because any other use would be commercial and I don’t think that would be appropriate,” Gill said. “It’s easy for me to say that, though, because my heart is in the building.” 

Retired Superior Court Judge Charles D. Gill, was back in the courtroom at the former Litchfield County courthouse during an open house on Sunday to share stories of his many years in the building. Gill is shown with Ruth Sprague and Joe Privitera, both of Bantam.






Preservation trust opens old courthouse to public (04-09-18)

 The public had a chance to tour the former Litchfield County courthouse on Sunday when its new owner, the Greater Litchfield Preservation Trust, held an open house.GLPT representatives led tours of the building and presented information on the organization’s proposal to convert the building into a town hall. That plan carries an estimated cost of $4.6 million and is being considered as an option by the town’s town hall review committee. The committee is also looking at a plan to build a new town hall on the lot behind Town Hall at an estimated cost of $5.9 million. Currently, the committee is weighing both plans to determine which would be more feasible. Eventually the committee will make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen. Dozens toured the vacant building during the four-hour open house. Many positive comments on the GLPT’s plan were heard, although there were some expressing reservations about cost.


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