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Morning Sun
  • County moves on elevator project

  • Enough waiting.

    That was the message from Crawford County commissioners on Friday as they discussed plans to revamp the Crawford County Courthouse elevator.

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  • Enough waiting.
    That was the message from Crawford County commissioners on Friday as they discussed plans to revamp the Crawford County Courthouse elevator.
    “We’re to the point where we’ve got to do something. It’s just going to quit one of these days with someone on there,” said commissioner Bob Kmiec.
    The elevator has long been a concern for commissioners. Installed in 1966, the elevator was put into place 24 years before the Americans with Disabilities Act. In addition, the elevator is now so old that parts for it are no longer available.
    Over the last two years, the county has applied for two grants to help fund the replacement of the elevator. Both times, the county’s come up on the short end of the stick.
    On Friday, Tom Ragonese, special projects manager, brought Elliott Hunter, from Hunter and Associates. Hunter is an architect who has been doing some preliminary work on the courthouse elevator.
    “Working with Tom, we did a feasibility study to see what’s involved after the first attempt to get grants. That attempt was unsuccessful. Tom asked us to put together a proposal on services,” Hunter said in Friday’s commission meeting.
    All told, the estimate for the project is somewhere in the $260,000 ballpark. That includes demolishing the old elevator, expanding the elevator shaft to meet ADA requirements, and installing a new elevator and shaft that are both modern and attractive compared to the wood paneling that sticks out like a sore thumb in the largely marble courthouse.
    That $260,000 depends on certain things, such as contractor bids, fee increases or decreases, and whether certain hurdles must be overcome.
    Furthermore, there’s the issue of time. Ragonese mentioned one judge in Girard who had ordered jackhammers across the town square to stop so that court business could be conducted. This time, the jackhammers may have to be inside the courthouse.
    “Once we’re to the point where we set up a schedule, we’re going to have some things we can do during the days, but other things will have to be done on nights and weekends. I don’t know how we can do that while people are working,” Ragonese said.
    The project, Elliott said, could take roughly eight months once it gets underway. That’s eight months of disruptions to the court and other operations in the county.
    Commissioners said it’s time for the county to stop waiting for grants and to move ahead.
    “There’s all this money, and face it, we’re not going to get a grant,” said Commissioner Carl Wood. “We’ve tried twice, and we haven’t got it.”
    Kmiec said the county would likely have to pursue a lease-purchase, and that he hopes a good interest rate could be found.
    Page 2 of 2 - Commissioners asked County Counselor Jim Emerson to take a look at a contract with Hunter and Associates to move ahead on the project in a more formal role.
    “If we’re going to do anything, I just want to move forward,” Kmiec said. “We’ve wasted two years waiting on a grant. We need to move forward.”
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