State of Missouri wants its money back
Thu, 13 Jan 2011 21:25:28 GMT —
UPDATED: January 27 at 5:37 p.m.
A crumbling courthouse has the attention of the Missouri Attorney General.
The State gave Clark County $57,500 in grant money through the Historic Preservation Revolving Fund to make repairs to its deteriorating courthouse.
Now, the state is suing Clark County to get the money back.
A press release from Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the county commission is demolishing the historic structure, which violates the terms of the grant agreement.
But the money was supposed to be used to stabilize the old building.
The money *was* used to put a band around the old courthouse, jacks under the building, and for roof repairs.
But now a new courthouse will be built instead.
"The old courthouse has been looked at many times over whether it could even be saved. It was determined through many town meetings and all to move ahead with the new courthouse," said Presiding Commissioner Ron Brewer.
Brewer says the main reason they've decided to go ahead with demolition is because of safety.
"The man tearing things down has discovered that it was way worse than what it was anticipated to be. He's kind of scared even to go in there, but sometimes, it's falling apart as they take pieces out of it. It's way worse than what we thought it was," said Brewer.
Not everyone agrees with the decision to tear down the historic building...
"It's $57,500 that we the people are going to have to do that. That's not right. It should have been someway in the county that the commissioners should have paid it because they're the ones that didn't fulfil their obligation," said Kahoka resident Joanne Ragan.
Demolition has already started, so it's already too late to save the building.
"If it's going to be, then it's going to be and if we're getting a new courthouse, then I will go along with it," said Ragan.
There are some benefits to the new building.
"Our new courthouse will be the first time we'll have all our county offices in one building. It will be safe. The court system will be able to operate knowing that they will be safe in there," said Brewer.
"I will fully support the new courthouse when it comes, and go there and be proud of it. We just needed more questions answered in the right way," said Ragan.
Brewer also says the commissioner's attorney will work with the Attorney General's office to come up with a solution quickly.
Clark County may have to rethink the decision to demolish its court house.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says the Clark County Commission violated the terms of a grant they were awarded for restoring the courthouse.
Koster says the money was to help make repairs to the building.
Now he is suing to get the $57,000 dollars back. He's also seeking interest on the grant money.
Read more from the KirksvilleDailyExpress.com here.