During a recent strategic planning meeting, Redwood County leaders addressed a topic that has been discussed for years – the future of the courthouse in Redwood Falls.

As a result of that discussion, Wold Architects was asked to put together some plans for that site, in addition to other ideas for a new structure adjacent to the law enforcement center.

During that discussion, the board heard its maintenance department has reached out to find a short-term fix for a condensation issue with the courthouse air handling system as condensation has caused rusting and a water leak.

While the board continued to talk about the potential for the current courthouse, a much bigger discussion came to the forefront – demolition of the current courthouse building. 

Lon Walling, county commissioner, brought the idea of tearing down the courthouse into the discussion. He said there are concerns with the current boiler, adding replacement of that system has a price tag of $1.3 million on top of the other $4 million that has been anticipated to make improvements to the building and address security issues that continue to exist.

“If we tear that building down we would have a large footprint for a new building,” said Walling.

Commissioner Jim Salfer added he is not interested in sticking a bunch of county dollars into an old courthouse, adding he wants to make a decision regarding this building that works for the county.

“Even spending $4 million we are not getting all that we want and need,” said Salfer, adding there are just too many issues with that building. “I think we are going down the wrong road trying to fix that building.”

Salfer added the impression he got from those who were at the strategic planning session was that moving toward the building of a new courthouse facility – as opposed to putting more money into the current courthouse – was the way to go.

Salfer added he would like to have a plan together for the courthouse building by the end of the year.

“We have talked about the courthouse since I have been on the board,” said Salfer. “It is time for us to get something done.”

The building committee was directed to meet with representatives of Wold Architects to talk about the courthouse project.

In other action during its meeting, the county board:

• Approved the purchase and installation of flashers on the stop ahead signs on CSAH 7 at its intersection with TH19 (the Belview/Seaforth corner).

According to Keith Berndt, county engineer, discussions were held with the Minnesota Department of Transportation to determine its interest in placing flashers on the stop signs at that intersection. With that option not available, Berndt said while the county does not have jurisdiction of the stop signs at that intersection, it did for the stop ahead signs on CSAH 7.

With that in mind, Berndt looked into the cost of purchasing LED flashers located on the north and south signs indicating the cost would be approximately $3,200. He added the flashers would be operated with solar power which would not require added cost.

Commissioners indicated the fact that they think this was the best option available at a location where a number of serious and fatal crashes have occurred.

“Having lived there growing up I know that always was a dangerous intersection,” said Bob VanHee, “and it’s still a problem today.”

• Approved a request form Katie Walden of the child advocacy center to apply for grant funds that would be used to enhance services offered through the program.

• Appointed Jeff Huseby to serve as the Commissioner District 5 representative on the county’s planning and zoning committee.

• Entered into ditch authority and accepted the viewers’ report for county ditches 41, 93 and 42 and accepted the findings of fact and order for county ditches 23, 68, 68 Lateral A and 70.

• Approved the employment of Denise Kerkhoff as crime victim advocate in the county attorney’s office. According to Jenna Peterson, county attorney, the position was created with funds from an Office of Justice Programs grant. The grant is for two years, but Peterson said it is sustainable.