Courthouse Discussion

(Pott. County Commission Meeting, July 24, 2017) | The Smoke Signal

The commission agreed to have a roundtable discussion with members of a concerned citizens group to discuss the Pott. County Courthouse and other facets of a proposed long term Facilities Master Plan completed recently for the county. “Our intent is not to bring a bunch of angry people. We don’t need that,” said Ruby Zabel, a member of the citizen’s group. “We just have questions about different aspects of the courthouse project and the entire facilities plan; may I say, a meeting of the minds?” “So I don’t have to attend, right?” quipped Commission Chairman Pat Weixelman. The facilities plan, developed by BG Consultants, identifies about $12.3 million in needed upgrades to county facilities over the next 20 years. It recommends replacing the courthouse at Westmoreland with a consolidated office building as the most cost-effective means of meeting the county’s apace needs. Some citizens have objected to razing the courthouse, saying the structure is an important part of the county’s heritage. The courthouse was built in 1884, and is the second oldest in Kansas behind the Chase County Courthouse at Cottonwood Falls. Commissioners said they would schedule a meeting with the citizen’s group for some time in late August or early September. On a related topic, county officials said they are still researching answers to about 50 questions about the courthouse submitted prior to a public forum hosted by the commission July 6. (Peter) Clark and Administrator Robert Reece said when the answers are completed they would be made available on the county’s website and through other venues, such as the media and the county clerk’s office. Many of the questions overlap and they need to be consolidated and made more concise “so we do the best job we can in presenting the facts,” Clark said.