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Former Hampton court house set for grand opening as new town hall

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WATCH ABOVE: The focal point in the town of Hampton will remain the same for years to come. The historic former court house building has been repurposed to house the new town hall. Global's Andrew Cromwell reports. – Dec 8, 2016

Town staff are now operating out of the former Kings County Court House.

The historic building in Hampton, N.B., which stopped dealing with judicial matters in 2013, was built in 1871 — just four years after Confederation. There was concern its future might be in real jeopardy.

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But the price was right. One dollar to the province and it was decided the building needed to stay close to home.

“People in the town certainly didn’t want the appearance of the property to change at all and in the long run it seemed like making it into the municipal building would be the thing,” Hampton Mayor Ken Chorley said.

Three other proposals were put forward, but Chorley said everyone felt the best thing to do was for the the town to take it over.

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The renovation, which was more than $1 million, was funded by the town and both the provincial and federal governments. It has taken more than a year but has been transformed from what was to what is.

The town manager, who oversaw the project, believes it’s money well spent.

“To save this building and turn it into a municipal office, incidentally it originally was a municipal office way back when it opened from the county,” Richard Malone said. “So it’s nice to take it back to its roots.”

Some of its more current history is still on display. The former holding cell still stands in one of the town hall offices. It now holds paperwork but still contains the names of some of the people who spent time in there, scratched into the door frame.

The first town council meeting in the old courtroom will be held next week.

“It’s kind of an honour, I guess, to have the first council meeting in the in the rejuvenated building,” said Chorley.

That meeting will be held Tuesday night.

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