Courthouse Getting Birthday Present

The estimated cost to proceed with the first year of structural repair work on the historic Putnam County Courthouse is less than $45,000.

The Putnam County Board approved a motion Monday to move ahead with the first year of a proposed four-year program to repair the structure. The total four-year program is estimated at approximately $200,000 to repair the building's sandstone band and brick work.

Board chairman Duane Calbow said although it is still a decent amount of money to have to spend, at least it wasn't as much as was anticipated. Spreading out $200,000 over the span of four years makes it more manageable, he said. Plus, the estimated cost does include architectural fees, he said.

The only “No” vote came from board member William Holmes, who in earlier meetings had voiced concerns about spending much money to update a building that was built in 1839.

The structure, which has had repairs and additions since it was built, hasn't had much exterior work done for several decades, Calbow said at last month's meeting. The building has the distinction of being the oldest operational courthouse in the state of Illinois.

Emergency Management Agency coordinator John Ehrhardt said the contract costs for the emergency services building in Hennepin have totaled $326,507. A grant will pay for $300,000 of those costs, leaving just $26,507 as the county's responsibility.

The building, which houses equipments, has emergency services offices, has meeting rooms available and can serve as a heating/cooling center during emergencies, is a big accomplishment for a small county, Ehrhardt said.

“It's not fancy. It's just nice. It serves the purpose for an all-out emergency,” he said.

Ehrhardt said there are counties bigger than Putnam that don't have a building like this.

Source: News Tribune