MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Commissioners held public meetings Wednesday to discuss plans for the proposed courthouse plaza renovation project.
Representatives from Garmann Miller presented information about the latest design for the project and the reasons the process was initiated.
Kathy Trejo with Garmann Miller outlined some of the reasons for the project, including issues with underground utilities, fountain drainage, uneven surfaces and lighting.
“One of the main reasons that this process started is the trip hazards,” Trejo said, pointing out the shallow steps and uneven bricks on the plaza between the 1880s courthouse and the 1970s Safety Building. “And there’s just a lot of damaged pavement.”
Trejo said the current bricks were dry-laid on gravel or sand, which is less stable. The proposed plan would lay any pavers in a concrete base, she added.
The underground tunnels that circle and lead to the courthouse are unsound in places and there are issues with leaking, Trejo said. A pedestrian tunnel between the courthouse and Safety Building is structurally sound and will be kept, but other tunnels will be filled in.
Waterproofing work around the courthouse foundation will also be included in the project.
The proposed design would also address issues with the current plaza lights, which are difficult to maintain and find parts for. They would be replaced with something more energy- and cost-efficient and more aesthetically pleasing, Trejo said.
The current water features are also expensive to maintain and would be replaced with one fountain, which would be located at the front of the courthouse.
The proposed design includes walkways with pavers that mimic the floors inside the courthouse, wayfinding signage and more green space. The design also relocates the county law enforcement memorial, which would be moved closer to the Sheriff’s Office entrance.
Trejo said the project team is also working to save as many of the current trees as possible. More would be added around the courthouse property, to reflect how the property looked in the 1880s, she said.
The estimated cost for the project is between $3.5 million to $3.7 million, including alternates. At a previous meeting, the commissioners said they want to keep the project cost around $3 million.
The commissioners agreed to abandon plans for a heated sidewalk snow melt system and are considering other options for reducing the cost of the project.