County Officials: "We need a new courthouse!" Vote TODAY
As your elected officials, we are requesting public support for the tax initiative before the citizens of Kay County on October 8, 2019. Early voting will begin at the Courthouse on Thursday, October 3, and continue on Friday, October 4.
This initiative is vital to the continued growth of Kay County and for the sustainability of our current historical courthouse.
As you have probably read, our current courthouse, while stately and beautiful, needs significant improvements to maintain its viability. The roof needs to be replaced as even the slightest rain will cause leaks inside the building. These leaks and the resulting water damage are slowly eroding the integrity of the building and causing significant health and environmental issues. Those issues in addition to the damage that is being done to the soaked documents and equipment must be addressed by the County.
There is also an issue with the heating and air-conditioning in the building. The building still has a boiler system which is antiquated and failing. It is not an issue of if the system will be replaced, but when. The County Commissioners have worked diligently to repair and maintain this system but time has taken its toll and replacement is necessary. There have been times in the summer when no air has been available to the building Without cooling or airflow, the heat in the building can be oppressive. Likewise, many times in the winter, the heaters have to be turned off because there is no way to adjust the temperature. Courtrooms will be unbearably hot, while other offices are cold. These issues will continue until a new system is in place.
Several core systems in the Courthouse are lacking which in turn prohibits growth in government function and convenience for citizens. Many government functions can be available online if the electrical system at the courthouse could support equipment and computer upgrades. The current system simply cannot keep up with modern advancements. Likewise, simple, core amenities such as availability of restrooms cannot be offered because the current courthouse facility will not allow for modernization without significant overhaul and additional space. The space required in 2019 was simply unimaginable in 1926 when the Courthouse was built.
The proposed Courthouse Annex will allow core County Government to have all of these amenities as we move forward. The design of the new building will ease the burden of heating and cooling these offices, provide adequate restroom facilities for all offices and the public, provide a safe and secure entrance into the building and provide adequate space for the citizens of Kay County to properly use the services available to them. Additionally, more space will be available for the public to take part in their county government meetings.
The proposed OSU Extension building will allow for more educational programs and meeting space. It will also allow for more room for the youth of Kay County to prepare 4-H projects and host competitions. This facility will allow Kay County to serve the public and youth.
Perhaps the best attribute of the proposed Annex and Extension building is that everything is offered on one floor. As stated above, this helps with heating and cooling, but it also does not create a need for an elevator system. Most importantly, it allows an ease of use for the public. The building will be accessed at ground level and all county functions will be available within that one level.
The renovated Courthouse will be the judicial center for the county so that there will no longer be a co-mingling of inmates and the general public. In fact, the renovations will allow for a security system for all courthouse facilities so that the citizens can utilize these assets without an elevated security risk. All Judges serving Kay County have actively participated in proposed design of the renovation. The new judicial system will provide space for services to reach those in greatest need, our children and families.
By providing secure visitation areas, the core unit of our society will be able to mend and grow without causing additional trauma to the children. Space will also be available for attorneys and clients to discuss private matters without having the public walking through the middle of a conversation. These needs are apparent and immediate. All court-related offices will be configured to make the most efficient use of the space in our Courthouse.
We want to assure the citizens of Kay County that this issue was not a frivolous concept. The current issues have simply reached a breaking point and our historic Courthouse needs your help. As always, our offices are open to you. If you would like to see any of the issues that we are facing, please feel free to contact any of us for a tour. This is YOUR Courthouse – please vote YES to preserve it and move into the next century of service.
JACK GODBERSON, Commissioner for District 1
JASON SHANKS, Commissioner for District 2
JOHN WILSON, Commissioner for District 3
TAMMY REESE, County Clerk
CHRISTY KENNEDY, County Treasurer
MARILEE THORNTON, Court Clerk
SUSAN KEEN, County Assessor
STEVE KELLEY, Sheriff
BRIAN T. HERMANSON, District Attorney
BRENDA MEDLOCK, OSU Extension Educator
Please support the Blackwell Journal-Tribune by subscribing today!