Ugly fence almost done – what’s next for the courthouse?
Work on the controversial but mandatory security fence around the Scioto County Courthouse parking lot is almost finished. There’s just some electric work to be done on the gate and some parking spaces to be striped. So what’s next for the historic building? Scioto County Commissioner Bryan Davis says probably a few security camera upgrades and some projects he’s not allowed to talk about. “Security-related items that you don’t talk about because you never know who is listening.” He did say that the Courthouse was already ten times safer than it had been before recent upgrades.
He cited combining adult probation and parole together in the basement and making sure all the parolees and probationers went through courthouse security. He’s also proud of getting use out of the fourth floor, a remodeled jury deliberation room, and efforts to make restrooms in the building ADA compliant.
He says plans for future projects are on hold because of both funding issues and certain uncertainties. With Judge Matt McFarland appointed to the federal court that leaves his offices in the basement of the courthouse in limbo. “We have to wait until the Governor appoints someone. We’re hoping the appellate office stays here. If it doesn’t, we’re looking at other uses for the basement.”
He said there are also plans to get back to a plastering project. Davis says maintaining the nearly 100-year-old historic building is a challenge. “We don’t want to stop working on the building. It’s 93 years old. We want to do everything we can to keep it in good shape. It’s getting harder to squeeze those dollars out.”
Commissioner Mike Crabtree agreed but said he is hopeful that the Internet sales tax, improving economy, and better reimbursement from the state for indigent defense will put some of the money lost by the end of the MCO tax back into the county’s pocket and provide funds for building improvements.
Davis said it will take time. “What’s the easiest way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I think we’ve made great progress.”