Greener space coming

Above is an example of the current landscaping at the Henry County Courthouse. The commissioners are planning on reducing the amount of decorative stone and replacing it with grass.

Landscaping at the Henry County Courthouse and roof work at the Oakwood Office Complex will have the Henry County commissioners spending some money in the future.

While work is being considered on all the roofs at the Oakwood complex, Commissioner Glenn Miller said the board did not budget money expressly for that this year because it wanted to see if it might be able to use American Rescue Plan funds from the federal government.

Those rules were just recently finalized but it still isn’t clear if that money could be used somehow.

The roofing project has been broken down to five different projects, ranging from $295,000 at the transportation building to $8,000 for the Board of Elections. A recommendation has been made that priority be given to the transportation roof and the one at the commissioners building ($108,000.)

No decision was made during Thursday’s meeting, with the commissioners wanting to see what sources of funding might be available.

“Now that we have a clear vision of what pools or tranches of money we can possibly pull from, we can put together a plan,” Miller said.

He added the commissioners would like to avoid using general fund money, even though the carryover amount is at a healthy level, because the board intends on trying to return some of that to taxpayers.

“Our carryover is probably in too good a shape,” Miller said. “Which is a good problem to have. We need to keep a little better handle on that and return some of that money to the taxpayers.”

He suggested an option is to reduce the inside millage amount in the fall, though he said at this point the dollar amount is unknown.

A meeting has been set up for March 10 at 9:45 a.m. to discuss the issue further.

With the total cost of the roofing projects at about $700,000, Miller pointed out work at the Oakwood Complex is nearing $1 million. The parking lot is set to be repaved, and there is concrete work around the complex that needs replaced.

Sidewalks at the courthouse, on the south and east sides, also are in need of replacement. The parking lot at the building will also need resealed.

The commissioners are planning some landscaping work at the courthouse, including removing much of the stone around the building and going back to more grass.

Miller said in looking at older pictures of the site, there was more grass areas and less stone and hedges. He added he feels that’s something that makes the historic courthouses look unique.

Maintenance Supervisor Eric Weller also said the county Christmas tree needs to be replaced because it has too many gaps in branches.

The commissioners also likely will plan a day this coming spring or summer where they can do a walk through of the courthouse and determine what other repairs need to be done inside and then package them together for a bid.

No cost estimate on the courthouse sidewalk or landscaping projects have been determined as yet.

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I started at the Northwest Signal in 1994 and became editor in 2004. I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1994.

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