Judge may seek OSHA inspection of Rock Island County courthouse


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Originally Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013, 7:35 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 22, 2013, 10:46 am
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Jeffrey O'Connor is considering asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to inspect the Rock Island County Courthouse.

Judge O'Connor wants to win over the public to his view a new courthouse needs to be built ahead of a referendum in April that could create a way to fund the project.

He said the 116-year-old building is in bad shape, and bringing OSHA in to assess it could help the public understand the need for a new courthouse.

"You've got to be able to demonstrate that it's got to go before you start spending a lot of money," Judge O'Connor said. "I'll be a part of anything that will get that across."

The referendum in April willask voters if they support expanding the powers of the Rock Island County Public Building Commission, which was established to build the county jail.

The building commission could then borrow money to build a courthouse. The same mechanism was used to fund construction of the Rock Island County Justice Center.

In an interview on Monday with the editorial board of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, Judge O'Connor said the building cannot be heated properly, has mold problems and likely is not in compliance with fire safety and disabled access codes.

"The time has long come and gone to do something," he said.

If the referendum is approved, the Rock Island County Board would have to decide where a courthouse would be built, and study cost and space requirements.

The board also could decide to build a new county office building through the expanded powers of the building commission to replace the existing building across from the courthouse that houses various county offices.

Judge O'Connor said there was a possibility the courthouse could be closed down by OSHA or because of a structural or mechanical failure.

He said he understands a proposal to build a new courthouse for tens of millions of dollars will be met with skepticism by some, but he said he hopes a public awareness campaign can convince voters the need is real.

"Nobody's trying to hoodwink anybody and get a fancy building," he said.

The county board voted last week to put the referendum question about the authority of the building commission on the April 9 local election ballot.





















 




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  Today is Tuesday, Sept 2, the 245th day of 2014. There are 120 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: It is estimated that 300,000 people attended the recent Democratic convention in Chicago when Gen. George B. McClellan of New Jersey was nominated as a candidate for president of the United States.
1889 — 125 years ago: Alderman Frank Ill, Winslow Howard and Captain J.M. Montgomery returned from Milwaukee, where they attended the national Grand Army of the Republic encampment.
1914 — 100 years ago: Three members of the Rock Island YMCA accepted positions as physical directors of other associations. Albert Cook went to Kewanee, C.D. Curtis to Canton and Willis Woods to Leavenworth, Kan.
1939 — 75 years ago: Former President Herbert Hoover appealed for national support of President F.D. Roosevelt and Congress in every effort to keep the United States out of war.
1964 — 50 years ago: The Rock Island Junior chamber pf Commerce has received answers to about 65 % of the 600 questionnaires mailed out recently in a "Community Attitude Survey" to analyze sentiments of citizens towards their city's various recreational, educational, and civic service programs.
1989 — 25 years ago: The two thunderstorms passing through the Quad Cities last night and early today left some area residents reaching for their flashlights.






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