County officials hear from Odon about a proposed annex

90 year old courthouse running out of room…





Odon area residents had their opportunity to hear about a proposed Daviess County Annex to alleviate space issues at the Daviess County Courthouse.  Lamar Associates Architect and Design presented the two proposals of building onto the ONB building in downtown Washington or building a new structure at 3rd and Hefron.

Susan Leighty , the owner of Daily’s Furniture supported the options that would renovate the Old National Bank Building and asked about the concern with parking in the area.  Lamar and Associates said that according to a survey, an and annex would require an estimated 80 or so parking spaces and 55 staff and 30 patrons at any given time.  At high volume times, there would be an estimated need for up to 160 parking spaces.  Commissioner Nathan Gabhart pointed out that all the parking lots in the area of the ONB building were private property and the County could not guarantee public access to those lots.  Even if the former German American Bank lots could be obtained, there would only be room for 45 parking spaces.  The concern among members of the Council and Commissioners was parking conflicts with the Main Street retail merchants.

The County officials emphasized they were not firmly committed to any option.  Councilman Mike Sprinkle noted that a previous annex project was killed when the price estimate came in at $24 million.  The most expensive option presented at Monday night’s meeting, the renovation of the ONB property, is an estimated $8.2 million.

When it comes to the financing..  County Commissioners President Nathan Gabhart said that over the years the County Council had been good stewards of the public funds and a sizable portion of the project could be paid for with cash on hand and additional county money that could be put toward the project would be freed up in the next 20 to 30 days with the retirement of economic development bonds from 2006.  Gabhart also said that bonds from the construction of the jail would soon be paid off and that money could also be used for the project.  If bonding becomes necessary, the county could use EDIT funds which should not effect the general tax rate.

There’ll be one more public meeting on the issue and that will be for Montgomery area residents.  It’ll be held next Monday   the 14th at 6 at the Montgomery Ruritan Building.