Saturday, January 20, 2018

Commissioners: Take a fresh look at courthouse issue

Nearly 100 years ago, our present courthouse was erected by our forefathers (and mothers). I’m sure that, at the time, the building was state of the art. Our predecessors built the courthouse to house the county government for the next 100 years.
They “bit the bullet” so to speak, and paid dearly to allow Stillwater County an excellent place to conduct its business.
Now nearly 100 years later, that noble building has out lived it usefulness regarding county business. To preserve the courthouse would be great, to use it as a seat for county business, not so much. Now it is our turn to provide for the continued operation of Stillwater County into the next millennium.
The three people charged with deciding this task (county commissioners) are in my opinion of outstanding character.
Having known and worked for this board for many years, I can attest to their integrity and desire to do the best they possibly can do for all of Stillwater County. Since our neighbors (Carbon and Sweet Grass counties) have utilized existing county-owned buildings for expansion, I can certainly understand why our commissioners have considered doing likewise.
The other side of the debate, which seems to be centered on the law enforcement community, is certainly “spot on” and very knowledgeable about the situation. Sheriff Brophy and Judge Jones are not only personal friends, but truly dedicated individuals who have only the best intentions for the county.
With that being said, let’s look at this again. If our goal is to provide a center for government for Stillwater County for the next 100 years, as our forefathers (and mothers) did, then several conclusions jump out at us:
1. Pouring millions of dollars into old/existing buildings will not accomplish the task. These buildings simply will not withstand the rigors of time and use for 100 years. Additionally, spreading the county offices all over Columbus simply complicates usage.
2. The four options presented to us by the Spectrum Group are certainly not all inclusive, and given the controversy surrounding Spectrum, these options and especially the costs given for them are suspect at best.
3. We should not allow personal feelings, politics and expediency to rush us into a decision which we and our progeny will live with for many years (hopefully 100) to come.
I urge our honorable board of county commissioners, in view of the current controversy, to “cut our losses” and take a fresh look at the entire situation.
Perhaps, as one letter writer suggests, form an exploratory advisory committee to hear all of the interested parties and report to the board with a recommendation.
It is now time for us to step up and do what was done for us 100 years ago. Let’s build a complex that will satisfy all, and stand as a monument and commitment to our solidarity for our future.

J.F. (Jack) Knorr
Columbus