Starke Commissioners Discuss Courthouse Elevator Grant Application

The Starke County Commissioners are a step closer to formally seeking a grant to replace the courthouse elevator. They conducted a public hearing as part of that process during their meeting last night.

Edwin Buswell from the Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission (KIRPC) says the county is applying for a $500,000 grant from the state. It will require an estimated local match of $55,560. Buswell says the grant process is competitive, and there’s no guarantee Starke County will receive the requested funds.

The existing elevator does not comply with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It features a manual sliding door, which Starke County Clerk Vicki Cooley notes is difficult for people with limited mobility to operate. Her office is on the second floor of the three-story building, and Cooley adds the elevator has also been known to get stuck. The most recent updates only addressed mechanical problems.

Buswell says one of the grant requirements is that any proposed updates meet ADA standards. The grant proposal is due July 7th, and the final application must be submitted in September.

Buswell says letters from community members in support of the elevator update increase Starke County’s chance of receiving the money. He encourages residents to be as specific as possible as to why they believe the courthouse needs a new elevator.

Letters should be sent to the Starke County Commissioners in care of Starke County Auditor Kay Chaffins, 53 East Mound Street, Knox, IN 46534.