Jefferson Banner - Opinion
John Foust


Will County government leave downtown Jefferson?



The Courthouse complex has always dominated downtown Jefferson. In late 2004, County government considers how to address the need for more parking, more office space, and a larger jail.

On November 17, Venture Architects presented the County with an "Interim Presentation - Jefferson County Facilities Study" that describes the options for expansion in downtown Jefferson versus constructing a new County building. It also explores the costs associated with remodeling or sale of the old Countryside facility.

The County complex employs hundreds of people: County administrative employees, the civil, family and criminal courts, the Sheriff's department and the jail.

If the County administration and courts moved to a new facility at the edge of town, it would be a tremendous loss to the life of downtown Jefferson. A dozen law firms are located within walking distance of the Courthouse for the convenience of attorneys and their clients alike. Downtown businesses that serve breakfast and lunch to this crowd would be hard-hit if the County left downtown. The sheriff's department and jail would be expanded, changing the character of the County complex.

In this November 17 report, you'll see the County's projected space needs jump from 241,000 sq. ft. in 2004 to 420,000 sq. ft. in 2024. Five options are presented, incorporating permutations for remodeling the downtown complex, keeping or abandoning Countryside, and building a new government complex.

Click here to download the presentation as an Acrobat PDF file . It is a 6 megabyte download, so it may be slow on a dial-up connection. Click this link if you don't have Acrobat.

Click here to view the presentation as converted to web pages. It's almost the same, and it will load more easily on slow connections.