CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A small, socially distanced group gathered in front of the Cabarrus County Government Center Thursday to celebrate downtown Concord’s future.
The catalyst is the Cabarrus County Courthouse renovation/expansion project that will reshape downtown and create a natural connection between Union and Church streets.
Cabarrus officials livestreamed the ceremony, which featured interactive displays and a live art demonstration by oil painter Kevin Harris of ClearWater Arts Center and Studios.
During the event, County leaders and courthouse partners discussed the monumental impact the project will have on the community.
“This ceremony is the culmination of years of work that went toward developing the right team, creating a shared vision and setting common goals,” said Steve Morris, Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners chair. “Our vision focused on preserving history, then building on it.”
Superior Court Judge Marty McGee discussed the rich history of Cabarrus County court facilities and the collaborative work that’s been done to design a building that will, “fulfill its high purpose as a place to provide justice.”
Principal Jody Driggs of Silling Architects spoke to the value of collecting the experiences of Cabarrus County and downtown Concord and incorporating them into the project.
"We hope the completed project is legibly responsive to the proud history, dynamic present, and hopeful future of you in this place," said Driggs.
Harris, the artist, said he was honored to showcase his talents during the event.
“I always want to be a part of anything community-based that puts artists out there,” he said. His artwork, which he completed during the ceremony, will become a permanent installation in the new Courthouse.
Participants also had the opportunity to experience information stations in person and online. The stations featured stories of the Cabarrus County Courthouse through the years, as told Judge Clarence Horton, a local historian and the host of Cabarrus County Television’s “Historical Moments.”
Commissioners approved the five-year, 250,000-square-foot renovation and expansion in 2019. The project is expected to continue through early 2023.
Construction began earlier this year with crews working mainly nights inside the existing Courthouse. The ceremony marks the start of the first large-scale publicly visible work, and the next step is the demolition of the existing Courthouse annex to make way for the footprint of the new building.
For more information on the courthouse construction project, including video updates, renderings and construction announcements, visit https://cabarruscounty.us/resources/courthouse-construction-project.