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County Council Seeks Input On Courthouse Grounds Project
Updated October 29, 2014 7:28 AM | Filed under: Politics
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plan b.jpg
Plan B
plan a.jpg
Plan A

(BEDFORD) - The Lawrence County Council Tuesday night heard a presentation about the courthouse grounds Stellar project.

The committee working on the courthouse grounds project presented two plans for consideration.

Plan A would cost $582,307.50 with an added 10 percent contingency amount of $58,230.75 for a total of $640,538.25.

The plan includes adding a pedestrian walkway through the courthouse grounds, new sidewalks along the exterior of the courthouse and landscaping.

Plan B would cost $732,148.00 with an added 10 percent contingency amount of $73,214.80 for a total of $805,362.80.

The plan includes adding a pedestrian walkway through the courthouse grounds, new sidewalks along the exterior of the courthouse, landscaping and a fountain on the north end of the courthouse in a park like environment, additional angle parking on the west side of the courthouse, adding four additional parking spaces around the courthouse.

The county committed $500,000 to be used for Stellar projects. The city has added an additional $130,000 for a total of $630,000.

The questions now is which plan to use and where the money will come from if county officials pick plan B.

"That is the question we need to be asking," says councilman Keith Dillman. "And before voting on either plan we need to listen to our constituents and get some feedback."

County Commissioner Bill Spreen, who is a member of the courthouse grounds committee along with the committee favor Plan B.

"We have spent a lot of money replacing all the courthouse windows," Spreen says. "That improvement has made a world of difference. Improvements cost money...This courthouse is the center of this community, the heart of the community. The courthouse represents all of us. I would hate for us to skimp now and then wish we would have done the other."

Councilman Gene McCracken agreed and says the extra money needed for the project could come from the county's rainy day fund.

He has been working with local limestone companies to get the limestone for the fountain donated.

Councilman Mark Mathis was concerned with the loss of green space with Plan B.

"It comes down to losing green space for four parking spaces," Mathis added. "I don't like that. The four spaces is not worth losing that massive amount of green space."

The council members are now seeking public input and hope to be able to make a decision at their November meeting.

The council also voted to go ahead and give the city their $500,000 pledge to the Stellar projects. However, two council members; Mike Wright and Keith Dillman; voted against paying those funds now.

In other business:

*The council approved several transfers and additional appropriations and grant budgets.

* The approved a tax abatement for PRD which will create 27 new jobs.

* Approved Sheriff Sam Craig to hire one jailer and two matrons.

* Sheriff Craig reported there were 111 inmates in the jail, of those 22 are women and 8 Department of Correction holds.

* Approved the salary ordinance.

* Accepted the resignation of Bill Carlisle from the Alcoholic Beverage Board. The council is seeking someone to fill the position. If a resident is interested they can contact the Auditor' Jodi Edwards.

* The council voted to allow Sheriff Sam Craig to purchase LeadsOnline,an online investigation system used by law enforcement to recover stolen property, help stop meth makers, reduce metal theft, and solve crimes.

Businesses, like pawn shops, are typically required by law to report their transactions to law enforcement, the system allows them to list items purchased online and police can then see if those items have been stolen here or in another county, says Sheriff Craig.

"The property can be returned to the owner and an arrest can be made," Craig added.

The fee for one year is $2,238.

"Currently we are just using it with pawn shops, but it can be expanded to include scrap yards," Craig says.

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