Jackson County is still hoping to have the Downtown Courthouse open in a week after recent plumbing woes, though the chair of the County Legislature – while praising the hard work and flexibility of all involved – expressed her doubts.
“We’ve been working nonstop to get to the point where we can move back in safely …” County Executive Frank White Jr. said Monday in an update to legislators.
Public Works Director Brian Gaddie said the basement of the 87-year-old building, once flooded, has been stabilized. He said upstairs areas are being dehumidified, and said much of the damage – carpets and plaster – was aesthetic.
The county suffered a double whammy: On Jan. 31 a large water main outside the courthouse burst, flooding the basement. Days later, additional water leaks sprung, including a water line break on the sixth floor.
The building’s hundreds of employees have been shuffled to other sites in downtown Kansas City or in Independence. White said officials are still shooting for Feb. 19 to reopen.
Legislator Theresa Galvin, R-Lee’s Summit, who spent 30 years in construction, said White’s team has done a great job and said, like White, said county employees have responded exceptionally well.
But she added, “I see the 19th as an aggressive date.”
Other legislators also praised the work those involved and indicated that insurance would cover much of the cost – though that figure has not been tallied.
Officials said they also are being mindful of the building’s historic significance and environmental concerns. Gaddie said so far the damage hasn’t led to any environmental issues.
“We’re testing daily in a number of locations,” he said.
COURTROOM SHUFFLES: As the Downtown Courthouse in Kansas City remains closed the 16th Circuit Court has announced the following location changes for cases scheduled for Wednesday. Both locations are nearby the downtown courthouse. The court already was scheduled to be closed today for Lincoln's Birthday.
Hearing times remain the same. Locations:
• Division 10, Judge Patrick Campbell – Riederer Community Justice Complex, 1315 Locust St., Courtroom A, adult abuse cases scheduled at 8:30 a.m.
• Division 25, Judge Richard Standridge – Riederer Community Justice Complex, cases scheduled at 9 a.m., 10 a.m.
• Division 29, Judge Janette Rodecap – Kansas City Municipal Court, 511 E. 11th St., Courtroom E, cases scheduled at 9 a.m.; and Riederer Community Justice Complex, Courtroom A, cases scheduled at 1:30 p.m.
Division 31, Judge Mary Weir – Kansas City Municipal Court, Courtroom E; cases scheduled at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m.
• Division 43, Commissioner David Kimminau – Kansas City Municipal Court, Courtroom E, cases scheduled for noon, 3:30 p.m.
• Division 50, Commissioner David Fry – Kansas City Municipal Court, Courtroom D, cases scheduled for 10 a.m.
For those who had a hearing scheduled for Wednesday downtown and your division is not listed, it has been canceled unless you have heard from your attorney or the judge's staff.
Changes are also listed on the court's website at www.16thcircuit.org and will be posted on the outside of the downtown courthouse building.
The Examiner’s Mike Genet contributed to this article.