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Community Concerned About Brown Co. Courthouse Expansion

Last night community members shared concerns about the proposed location and cost of a courthouse expansion.

Brown County Courthouse

Photo: Shameka Neely

The current Brown County Courthouse.

More than 50 Brown County residents attended a Community Conversation last night to discuss the future of the Brown County Courthouse.

A committee of residents and government officials presented research on the project to the public who signed petitions of remonstrance to block a Courthouse renovation plan put forward by the County Commissioners last fall.  Residents were concerned over the location, cost, and how fast the proposed project was moving.

President of the Brown County Commissioners John Kennard says this conversation was about making sure the citizens of Brown County are well-informed this time around.

“What had happened the first time that we did this which was nine months ago, the time limits were so short, and that’s an excuse but it’s a fact, that we did not have the time to educate the public on what the plusses and minuses were,” Kennard said.

Among the findings presented, were the pros and cons of the three options on the table: keep the status quo, renovate and add on to the current courthouse, or build a new courthouse next to the Brown County Jail and Law Enforcement Center.

Those in attendance shared a wide array of concerns, including parking needs at the proposed LEC site, whether a new, larger courthouse was really necessary, and what would come of the historic courthouse if a new one is built.

Local business owner Jeremiah Reichmann shared concerns about the estimated 18 months of construction required for renovation and the effect it would have on his business.

“Everything that happens here, as a business owner, even the littlest details, really affect the outcome of our business,” Reichmann said.

The next step for the committee is to compile the suggestions from the meeting, share them with stakeholders via email, and continue the conversation at future meetings.

Will Healey

Will Healey is a reporter for WFIU/WTIU News. He has studied Creative Writing and Philosophy at Fordham University in New York and Journalism at Indiana University's School of Journalism. He is excited to be part of the team and report on issues that impact the lives of Hoosiers.

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