Historic Moore County Courthouse

The historic county courthouse is reflected in the mirror of a vehicle on Dowd Street. (Photograph by Jaymie Baxley/The Pilot)

Moore County Commissioners met with Carthage officials on Thursday to discuss a somewhat contentious proposal to expand the county courthouse by closing part of a downtown thoroughfare.

The design recommended by Moseley Architects would eliminate a section of Dowd Road, a concession that Carthage commissioners worry will cause traffic congestion and reduce the already limited number of parking spaces near downtown businesses.

“Cutting off our street is going to be a huge deal for us in Carthage,” Mayor Lee McGraw said. “I know a lot of you only come here when you have to, but we live here.”

A schematic presented during the meeting would double the size of the courthouse, allowing the building to house the district attorney’s office. The schematic also calls for a landscaped promenade and an underground sally port for transporting inmates.

Under the recommended proposal, motorists traveling north on Dowd Road would need to make a left turn on Saunders Street and then turn right on Ray Street to reach the downtown traffic circle. Milton Dowdy, the mayor pro temp, believes the change will snarl traffic in downtown Carthage.

“I would hate to be part of creating a nightmare just so you guys would be able to put your buildings together at the expense of the citizens of Carthage,” he told county officials. “I would expect the (county) commissioners to look at the considerations of the citizens before the convenience of a courthouse.”

County commissioner Catherine Graham, a Carthage resident, said the county is sympathetic to the town’s concerns.

“We represent your people in Carthage just like we represent the people out in the country,” she said. “We want to be good partners to all municipalities.”

Wayne Vest, the county manager, told the local board that the proposal is not set in stone. The county, he said, will not move forward with the plan presented on Thursday unless it can do so “in concert with the town.”

“Carthage has been a great host to the county for many, many years, and we’re very concerned with anything we do having an impact on Carthage,” Vest said. “The whole reason for this discussion is to make sure whatever direction we head with this facility, it does address the concerns and it doesn’t create a nightmare.”

The two boards ultimately decided to collect feedback from residents through a public forum, which Graham said could be held after a traffic impact analysis is conducted by the state Department of Transportation. Vest said architects will provide the town with clearly labeled schematics to share with residents.

The courthouse opened in 1979 to replace the old courts facility, which still sits in the middle of downtown Carthage. For the past few years, the county has been under increasing pressure from the state judicial system to replace or expand the current facility.

Reporter

Jaymie Baxley is a reporter covering crime, public safety and general news for The Pilot. He previously worked at The Robesonian in Robeson County and The Daily Courier in Rutherford County.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for Reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

Thank you for visiting ThePilot.com and supporting award-winning community journalism. Not everyone wants to have a newspaper delivered to their home, but they want to keep up with the latest news in Moore County. Click here to gain digital-only access and support local journalism.

Starting at
$1.07 for 1 day

Connect Print Subscription to Digital Access

Thank you for visiting ThePilot.com. Your Pilot subscription entitles you to unlimited digital access. Simply log in. From the home page, click on Subscription Services. Then click on "Pilot All Access Print Subscribers." It should show your phone number . If so, click "Sign Up." After a few seconds, it will take you back to the home page. Log out, then log back in. You're set! For any problems, call our customer service number at 910-693-2487 or 693-2488.

Free access for current print subscribers