Union County Board Approves Courthouse Resolution

The Union County Board of Commissioners this week approved a resolution to seek bids regarding action on the future of the county's aging courthouse in Jonesboro.

The resolution was approved at this week's regular county board meeting. The meeting was Tuesday evening at the Union County Courthouse in Jonesboro.

The commissioners approved the resolution which was drafted by a recently formed courthouse committee.

The committee, made up of concerned community members, was appointed by the county commissioners to look into the future of the courthouse. The county board also is represented on the committee.

Concerns about the status of the courthouse have become more pressing in recent weeks following a severe winter storm which struck the Union County area.

A resolution "authorizing a request for proposals for a structural/engineering/historical significance study of the Union County Courthouse" was presented to the commissioners Tuesday by committee spokesperson Wes Wilkins.

The resolution noted that "for several decades, the roof and all other physical aspects of the courthouse have repeatedly been patched and/or repaired in an effort to save tax dollars by not incurring a large expenditure in the building of a new facility.

"In recent years, the physical condition of the courthouse facility had deteriorated to the point where virtually all repair efforts for the current courthouse facility results in only short-time fixes, without any guarantee of long-term success, which ongoing expenditure of tax dollars is neither prudent nor cost-effective.

"In addition to the deterioration of the courthouse facility itself, ever-increasing case and office work loads, as well as additional technology, space and storage needs and requirements for both the court system and the various county offices have resulted in significant ongoing difficulties in providing proper court and non-court services to the people of Union County."

The courthouse committee recommended that the commissioners adopt a resolution seeking proposals looking into the structural and architectural integrity of the courthouse, as well as the health, safety and historical status and significance of the building, as well as the future needs for a courthouse facility which best serves the citizens of Union County and those who will use the building.

The resolution noted that grant funding is available which could help to offset expenses which the county may incur in accepting bids and paying for the study.

The courthouse committee plans to meet again at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24. The meeting will be at the courthouse. Committee members will have an opportunity to tour the facility.

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