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Letters from Feb. 5

Plans for old courthouse

To the Editor,

I want to thank Jefferson County for all their effort to make the sale of the old county courthouse go so smoothly. Any delays were due to me as it takes time to incorporate. This transaction helped renew some of my faith in part of our local governments. To the commissioners, county administrator, and legal counsel, thanks again. You did good.

It was overwhelming the response received from so many of our local citizens as to “why”? “What are you going to do with it?” The answer is that I’ve been watching with interest over the past several years knowing the days were numbered for this building. It is the second oldest commercial building in our county. The other historic sites of this age no longer exist.

Last year the county declared it surplus and it went up for bid. I never was interested in purchasing the building but when no bids came in, the next step could have been demo.

As to what will i do with it? The main floor will be rental space with hope of attracting some type of professional tenant(s). The upstairs was the court room that I want to recreate as near as possible to original. I’m hoping that there are some old-time families out there that might still have some of the original furnishings that were removed and sitting in someone's barn. Also looking for any old photos of the courtroom. It will then be used for special occasions.

Then there is an ugly old concrete building in back. I don’t know if many people know what it was, or even care. That was the county jail. It is almost 100 percent complete with all the inside intact, even the mechanical cell doors are in working order. It even still has the corner toilet. It will also be restored back to its original status.

This project will be a work of love and proceed as funds become available. Hoping the building will help support itself during this process. The foundation condition will be addressed this year and, hopefully, the brick work will also be started in the same time period. It should be complete and brought back to its original glory within the next 36 months.

Steve Jansen

The Old Courthouse LLC

Madras.



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