Nat'l Park Service seeks input on restoration, use of old New Castle Sheriff's House
The First State National Historical Park is looking for input on what to do with the old Sheriff's House building in New Castle.
The 1800s-era structure adjoins the old county courthouse and was donated to the National Park Service by the state in 2013.
It's been vacant for years and would need some restoration to be usable again, especially to deteriorating, damaged or non-historic floors, walls, plumbing, lighting and more.
Park superintendent Ethan McKinley had about 70 people weigh in on how best to carry out those restorations and put the Sheriff's House to good use at an open house earlier this week. He says they got a "resounding" answer:
"This building is very important to the city, it's very important to the history of the state, it's very important to the history of the country," he says. "And they want to make sure the building is used and preserved in a way that's going to be accessible to visitors to New Castle."
McKinley says the building might make a good visitor education center for the park, but they'll work with the city and other groups on shaping that vision. It also needs some modifications to be disability accessible.
But McKinley says says they're working hard to make sure any future use of the building fits its history.
"So we want the building to be preserved in any scenario that we go forward with. And I think that's important for the public to understand, is that we're not entertaining ideas of turning it into something that it's not," he says. We're very much taking a look at the most important periods in its history, and trying to restore it to that."
The Park Service is planning to announce its decision for how to use the house by this summer.
But they're looking for more public feedback first. People can comment online through Feb. 15. Details below: