The historic courthouse on Main Street in Lexington is now closed indefinitely because of health concerns.
The news came Friday from General Services Commissioner Sally Hamilton.
“This is a beautiful building and a historic building. But over the years it has not been well maintained building. Now it is an unsafe building,” Hamilton said.
The decision comes after recent tests showed unsafe levels of damaged and deteriorating lead-based paint in the building.
The city also says the building has asbestos and structural problems.
And it's assessing mold levels.
The city started looking into potential problems back in April when a Public Safety Museum volunteer complained.
Until the closure the building housed the Lexington History Museum, the Lexington Public Safety Museum and the Kentucky Renaissance Pharmacy Museum.
“Safety must come first and that means closing the facility,” Hamilton said.
Lead is hazardous, especially for children who are 6 or younger.
People can inhale or swallow lead dust or paint chips.
Because of the need for extensive renovation, the costly clean-up will likely become part of a long-term plan for restoration of the building, which dates to 1898.
For a Century it was home to Fayette County court operations, which modified the building again and again to accommodate a growing community.
The state built new courthouses in 2002.
Jeff Fugate, President and COO of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority, who is leading the restoration efforts, said the long-term plan will involve both the public and private sector and definitely involve opportunities for community input.