Commissioners Consider Costly Repairs

With 2014 coming to an end, the Prowers County Commissioners are concerned with projects extending into 2015.  Kirk Powers, Building Operations Supervisor, discussed holiday decorations, repairs at the Big Timbers Museum, parking space at the County Annex and sidewalk repairs for the north side of the courthouse.

Small Santa and Reindeer

Small Santa and Reindeer

“Our Christmas displays are in sad shape and showing their age,” Powers told the commissioners.  He said he has set aside funding in the 2015 budget to purchase new lawn decorations for the front of the courthouse.  The county has also received some comments about erecting a seasonal nativity display and Powers said he’s going to start work on finding either a complete display or pieces to put one together.  The county had a large-scale display on view at the Annex years ago. Big Timbers Museum

Powers said the drain problem at the Big Timbers Museum has been repaired.  “The water softner system would cycle every three hours, sending water into a drain with flow problems,” Powers said.  He told the commissioners the piping had been replumbed so the flow now runs into another line which alleviated the problem.  He added he’ll set up some split rail posts for fencing at the edge of the Museum property which some semi’s have been using as a turnaround, causing deterioration of the rotomill.

Powers said he’s been giving some thought to parking space problems at the County Annex at the corner of East Cedar and South Main Streets.  He said, “I’ve come up with three potential solutions and the first one will cost.”  One option, Powers said, is to purchase the former Troy Motel Apartments just south of the Annex and level the vacant building, turning it into a primary parking lot for those employees and visitors who park on that side.  He also added he believed the cost would be in the neighborhood of $250,000.  “The property is listed at $90,000, but the added cost comes from asbestos and lead removal,” Powers explained.  His other two options are to remove some of the storage units on the east side of the property or make use of the grassy area of the north of the building, “But there’s limited space there and we’d have to take down several trees.  Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade suggested that some of the county-owned vehicles that have very limited use, be stored at the fairgrounds until they are needed.  “This way, an employee taking a vehicle could just drive their car to that spot, take the county vehicle and retrieve their car when they’re done,” she suggested.  Powers said he’d explore all the alternatives and come back with some prices for the commissioners.

Fractured Sidewalk at Courthouse

Fractured Sidewalk at Courthouse

It was generally agreed that the sidewalk facing the north of the County Courthouse needs repairs, from cracks and portions of replacement concrete that is missing.  Powers said, “I’ve been talking to the city of Lamar and they’d be willing to supply the labor if we supply the materials to repair or replace the sidewalk.”  That too, was taken under advisement.  Commissioner Joe Marble said some of the problems came from having to use nothing less than front end loaders to remove the accumulated snow and ice from the last large blizzard that struck the region.

Peeling Paint from Ceiling

Peeling Paint from Ceiling

The county has budgeted $100,000 for repairs to the ceiling in the courtroom as sections of plaster have been falling along with peeling paint.  There was water damage to the ceiling from a ventilation system several years ago.  The problem has been fixed, but several chips of paint/plaster continue to fall every week.  Charise Boomsma, President of Preservation Studio, Incorporated advised the commissioners on their alternatives.  “You could either recreate the ceiling to its original composition or try to match the paint, colors and materials and concentrate on the damaged areas,” she told them.  The commissioners are looking at grant funding to help defray the expenses and to get an estimate of the total cost of repairs, depending on what method they select.  Boomsma’s firm was hired to study some grant alternatives and present her findings to the commissioners.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyFeaturedHistoryLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyUtilities


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