Pulaski County’s state representative is confident that the County Courthouse has a bright future. “It’s a historical building,” says Representative Doug Gutwein. “I mean, my goodness. We can’t just tear it down and build something new. We need to fix it. We need to take care of it.”
Gutwein says he thinks the courthouse should have been taken care of 50 years ago and kept up since then, but he adds that the issues facing the building are solvable. “The county’s got some financial problems, I know, but I’ve been to a couple meetings where we think we have a plan now to bring it back to where it needs to be,” he says. “There’s been talk about, possibly, a CAGIT tax that was used for the jail and Justice Center. I hope they don’t do that yet. We have a couple other options that they’ve talked about, but it’ll work out.”
Last December, county officials proposed demolishing the courthouse and replacing it with an addition to the Justice Center, as part of a plan to address security, ADA compliance, and a number of other concerns. The county commissioners appear to have backed down from that idea somewhat, but haven’t ruled out the possibility of moving some or all government operations elsewhere.
Before discussing the matter further, though, the commissioners want to wait for Indiana Landmarks and Rowland Design to finish their study of the courthouse. In a Facebook post this week, county officials said the two groups will conduct a walk-through and site assessment of the county’s facilities next Tuesday. They’ll also meet with an advisory group made up of a commissioner, council member, three department heads, and Community Development Commission Executive Nathan Origer, who’s serving as the county’s liaison to Indiana Landmarks. Following Tuesday’s discussions, Landmarks and Rowland will get to work on a preliminary report.