Balancing Justice



Justice came down swiftly — along with strength and authority, and law.

Construction crews Friday afternoon removed the three statues bearing those names that have stood atop the Mahoning County Courthouse since 1910. The removal was necessary to stabilize the statue pedestal.

Robert Mastriana, an architect and partner in the 4M Co. of Boardman, said the hollow statues weigh about a ton, but workers removed about 14 tons of material from inside.

“Those statues were acting as a wind sail,” said Anthony Traficanti, Mahoning County commissioner. “They had to come down.”

Small groups clustered in front of the Thomas D. Lambros Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse across the street, watching and snapping pictures with their cell phone cameras as the statues were removed.

Three hooks attached to a cable, dangling from a crane, were placed into the statues — allowing the crane to hoist it into the air. The machine lowered the 14-foot-high structure to a flat bed truck parked on Market Street. Traffic was directed away from the courthouse while the work was done.

“We found that the statue moved two inches [toward Market] in the last two months and it had moved 11⁄2 inches before that,” Mastriana said. The statues will remain in storage until commissioners can secure the money for the courthouse restoration architects say is needed.

Access to the courthouse was moved from the front to the side of the building earlier this year because officials worried about the deterioration and possible safety hazards.

Traficanti said he has asked both U.S. Reps. Charlie Wilson of St. Clairsville, D-6th, and Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, for help in securing federal stimulus money to do the estimated $10 million total restoration job.

The work done up to this point is about $177,000 including the study to determine the extent of work needed.

“This is a public building so we have to fix it,” Traficanti said. “It’s a 100-year-old building, it’s an historic building and it’s a public building.”

Two 900-pound overhanging granite cornerstones were removed last year from the top of the colonnade in the front of the courthouse because they had shifted.

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