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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ind. Courts - Still more on: Randolph County Courthouse plans still up in air

The Muncie Star-Press has had enough. In an editorial today headlined "It's time for courthouse saga to come to an end," the paper opines:

Message to Randolph County officials: Your inability to move forward on the courthouse renovation project is making you look foolish.

Those words are harsh, but the continuing saga of the Randolph County Courthouse is starting to play like a soap opera -- it just never seems to end. And the losers are the county's taxpayers and the people who have to work and conduct business in the courthouse.

Consider some of the tortuous twists and turns of the project:

The paper then lists the history of the project from 2004 to date. You can also see this history in detail in these ILB entries.

The editorial concludes:

County officials should be taken to task by their constituents for the time and money that has been wasted on this project -- with nothing to show for it.

By now, it should be clear that no side in this dispute is going to get everything they want.

The most prudent course of action is to build an annex on the courthouse square, and devise some attractive landscaping to mitigate the appearance of a wall of brick. It's time for those who oppose an annex to end their opposition and work with county officials to make the south side of the structure as attractive as reasonably possible.

It makes no sense to move into the former Marsh building and take that structure's $42,000 off of Winchester's tax base. Nor does it make sense to build a new court complex near the existing jail, which will raise still more issues that will need to be addressed. Not the least is the likely demolition of some homes and businesses.

Randolph County's inability to move forward on this issue is a black eye on the county's appearance to others beyond the county's borders. One has to ask whether a potential industry would consider locating in a county that can't seem to make headway on a vital building project.

The delay and confusion is sending a not-so-subtle message that government is not able to function when it comes to major issues.

After more than four years on this issue, it's time to put aside the differences. It's time to just build it.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 16, 2008 09:11 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts