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Published: Wednesday, 10/9/2013

Committee rejects plan to renovate Defiance County Courthouse

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DEFIANCE-- The Defiance County Courthouse won’t be renovated and will instead continue to be used as it is.

A courthouse committee consisting of three county commissioners, two judges, the sheriff, and the clerk of courts voted against pursuing an estimated $4.6 million project to retrofit the courthouse, which dates to the 1870s.

Only one committee member, county Commissioner James Harris, voted at today’s special meeting to proceed with a renovation, according to Otto Nicely, chairman of the Defiance County Commissioners.

“The project is dead,” Mr. Nicely said. “We’ll continue to do business as usual.”

Earlier this year, officials had hired an architect to come up with renovation ideas to address technology, security, and space issues.

But Mr. Nicely said judges on the committee expressed concerns that the remodeling work wouldn’t provide adequate room and the proper layout for the future and felt there wasn’t a point in putting money into the project.

“We found out it wasn’t cost effective to do it,” he said.

The county set aside roughly $4.3 million to pay for courthouse work. Those funds will remain in a capital fund, or some of the money could be used for jail operations, Mr. Nicely said.

He said there’s no plans to demolish the courthouse and build another facility.

Mr. Nicely said the courthouse will be used as it currently is  “... as far as I can see.”

Mr. Harris could not be reached for immediate comment.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6056, or on Twitter @vanmccray.



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