County plans for Courthouse lawn project

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Perry County residents may see changes to the courthouse lawn in the near future.
County officials recently had its kickoff meeting for its Courthouse Lawn Master Plan that has been in the works for the past several years.
“We’ve added the sun dial in the last couple of years and added the bell out onto the platform, but we haven’t done anything wholesale in terms of landscaping or things of that nature in a long time,” Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz said.
The county has a deal in place with DG2 Design out of Eureka to design a plan for improvements to the courthouse lawn. Kutz felt like that firm will do a good job.
“We got firms that have worked on some very large projects and some small ones,” Kutz said.
“There were ideas that have come out years ago,” Kutz said. “We worked with Regional Planning on a design and what got me really thinking about this was when the Downtown Plaza was added to the square and how that really changed downtown.”
According to the Request for Qualifications, this project will consist of the construction of public patio/porch areas, commercial exterior lighting for the Courthouse, sidewalks, pedestrian resting areas, arranging vegetation and trees.
“It’s an all-encompassing deal,” Kutz said. “It’s not just going to be moving bushes or trees, but potentially monuments and flagpoles.”
The project will be completed in phases.
“I don’t anticipate that it will be something that we complete the entire lawn in one year,” Kutz said. “The city will be putting up new lights on the square, and the county will be doing the lights on the interior of the square.”
Kutz is open to everything and it is all in consideration. He is hoping for community input as well.
“We are going to reach out to the community and are considering all sorts of things,” Kutz said. “There will be an online survey in conjunction with this as well as something for those who are not comfortable with that sort of thing. We want to know what people want around the courthouse.”
Data will be gathered as well as to what is in use around the square and what can be added and will be well-utilized.
“They will be looking at what is where and why things occur,” Kutz said. “It will take into account the gathering space at the Downtown Plaza and how that impacts the overall plan. I drove around the square and there were two people sitting in benches. People utilize those and people meet in certain areas.”
Accessibility is also a big focal point for the project.
“If I’m at Mary Janes and I’m parked at the City Parking Lot I have no problem walking all the way around,” Kutz said. “Accessibility and walk-ability are big in areas like that. Right now there are no sidewalks and if you turn the wrong way to get to the handicap access ramp, you have to go all the way back around.”
Kutz is excited to get the project started.
“Will we have shovels in the ground by Mayfest? I can’t say for sure, but this is an exciting time,” Kutz said.

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