Broderick FCE Proposes Re-Purposing Old Jail

(Pott. County Commission Meeting, January 29, 2018) | The Smoke Signal


Members of the Broderick Family and Community Education (FCE) group proposed repurposing the old Pott County Jail as a welcome center to promote attractions in the northern Flint Hills.

The limestone structure is located just west of the courthouse at Westmoreland and is currently used only for storage of court records. “The old jail, one of the last heritage buildings of significance in the county, is languishing from non-use, except for jumbled storage of records that would benefit from more appropriate storage in the basement of the Justice Center,” said Dru Clarke, co-chair of the Broderick FCE committee.

In addition to tax dollars, a number of grant sources are available for restoration of historic structures, Clarke said. Approximately 12 members of Broderick FCE attended the meeting in support of the proposal. The FCE has selected the Pott County Courthouse and the old jail as its annual service project. “These people have been paying taxes a long time and they would like some of those taxes invested in the buildings we already have,” Clarke said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people who really want this.”

“I’ve talked to a lot of people, too, and they want it torn down,” Weixelman said. It’s going to be a pretty hard sell for me, I just want you to know that.” Commission Chair Dee McKee said the county is faced with a state-mandated tax lid and restoring
old buildings which don’t meet the county’s space needs will be a challenge.

“We will revisit it, but if we cannot modify it to suit our needs, we’re facing a very expensive adventure,” McKee said. A facilities study completed last year said replacing the courthouse with a consolidated office building would be the least expensive means of meeting the county’s long-range space needs. The commission has yet to take action on the study’s
recommendations. Since then, both the courthouse and the old jail—upon the nomination of a local preservation committee—have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, giving state officials input into the future of the structures.