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Courthouse cupola receiving more than $40,000 in repairs

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A worker with Williams Restoration of La Vergne works on the Rutherford County Courthouse cupola this week as part of a $40,427 project to repair and repaint the iconic symbol of the county. Photo by Sam Stockard

If you’ve seen people swinging from ropes on the Rutherford County Courthouse cupola recently, it’s not because they’re acrobats. It’s simply a paint job.

Williams Restoration of La Vergne is repairing and repainting the cupola, which contains the venerable chiming clock, at a cost of $40,427. Work started two weeks ago and is to be done in 90 days, according to the county mayor’s office.

People from across the county have been inundating the office with calls asking what sort of work is being done. Nothing out of the ordinary is under way.

“The paint was beginning to fail and it seems to be a focal point of Rutherford County,” Rutherford County Maintenance Director Ben Mankin said of the historic courthouse cupola, which is the subject of numerous paintings and photos done by local artists and photographers.

Nothing is broken, either, according to Mankin, although he is considering replacing the old, wooden clock hands with some sort of Fiberglas hands that won’t have to be painted periodically. The county did a considerable amount of work inside the cupola last year to clean up pigeon damage that could have been a health hazard, according to Mankin.

That had to be finished before this project could be undertaken.

“It’s just spiffing it up,” Mankin said of the ongoing task. “This is a fun building to work on – unless you’re hanging off that cupola when it’s 97 degrees.”

The workers don’t seem to mind, though, he said, and they are using some scaffolding, rather than just ropes, to paint the clock’s face and complete the job.

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