Newton County has a new courthouse, but county employees won’t be moving their offices anytime soon.
"The Vampire Diaries" TV show officials donated a miniature replica of the courthouse to the county to use for special events and festivals, Chairman Kathy Morgan said in a Friday e-mail. The courthouse was one of the parade floats included in the season one finale of the CW network show.
Morgan said officials gifted the replica to the county under the condition that the replica be stored and protected from weather damage and used for activities throughout the county.
The county had to build a special trailer to transport the replica at a cost of $1,600, because existing trailers were too tall and would not have allowed the replica to travel under utility wires. The Board of Commissioners consented to spending the money, Morgan said.
Morgan said the county has discussed bringing the courthouse replica to the Christmas and 4th of July parades, but she said it can be used for any event. Requests to have the courthouse brought to an event must be made through the chairman’s office.
"I think this is a great gift to our community and a replica of the historic courthouse will be an effective tool throughout the county. All important activities that make Newton County great do not take place on the square in Covington. This is one of the most recognized courthouses in the world and it is something we can all be proud of," Morgan said.
"The Board of Commissioners appreciates the donation by the Vampire Diaries to our community and will respectively take care of this gift. It would have been very easy for them to sell this to make a profit. Instead, they chose to be good stewards of our community and donate this gift back for all to enjoy. This is one of those intangible things that the filming industry does for a community that you cannot place a value on. We will think of them every time we use the historic courthouse replica."