Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced Friday the county will provide funding to save the structure’s foundation.
Calling the condition of the Truman Courthouse a “public emergency,” Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders announced Friday the county will provide funding to save the structure’s foundation.
By declaring an emergency, the county will be able to cover costs of preservation.
The courthouse in the middle of the Independence Square is in the second phase of a three-phase renovation project. Phase II will consist of saving the badly worn foundation from further deterioration.
The phase is estimated to cost $800,000. The county so far has set aside $270,000. The extra $500,000-plus will come from the county’s state-mandated contingency fund. The county will seek reimbursement from the state and federal governments and will seek private money.
The courthouse’s outside walls have “captured every bit of rainfall that has dropped over the last 35 years, like the walls of a bathtub,” Sanders said, citing engineer assessments.
“Basically, we want to go back to the way the courthouse was originally,” Sanders said. “Those walls have to come down.”
Engineering reports the county requested last year found that the building is further deteriorating, Sanders said.
“If we wait longer, we risk losing irreplaceable features of this building that simply can’t be replaced,” Sanders said. “If we don’t act, we are risking losing the building.”
Last July, Gov. Matt Blunt vetoed funding for the renovation. But Sanders said Blunt knew millions were funding courthouse upgrades throughout the state.
The courthouse was extensively renovated in 1933 during the Great Depression. Current economic hardship should not prevent the county from saving the building, Sanders said.
Phase I has already been completed, consisting of preserving architectural features of building’s exterior and phase III is renovation of the interior. That would cost another $8 million, and the county isn’t in position to tackle that endeavor yet.
“We will get this done,” said state Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Independence, who attended a press conference inside the courthouse along with Jackson County Legislator Dennis Waits and state Rep. Gary Dusenberg. “We, as a community, will rebuild this building.”