The courthouse remodeling project may be taking longer than expected, but Kringen Construction reps say it’ll be finished by the time the county centennial arrives.
“We have time to get it done by fall,” said Bill Evanson, project coordinator, as others leading the project said there’s “nothing” holding up the project.
On Monday, Richland County commissioners met with the contractor and Stephenson Design of Miles City to talk about one of the last phases of the two-year project, which encompasses landscaping around the property. Diagonal parking spaces were pushed deeper into the existing sidewalk, to allow for safer parking. The corners will bulb out, as the design itself will coincide with the city’s downtown renewal plans.
Engineers have planned maple trees, hackberrys, green ashes, cut leaf birches, evergreens and blue spruces to decorate the property. They’re staying away from elms because of the devastating dutch elm disease and limiting ash trees for fear of similar circumstances. The mixture of species makes it so that if a disease or pest attacks one species, the others are safe. The selected plants also grow at varying rates, blossoming at different times of the year, sprucing the courthouse with some color. At the request of Sidney Mayor Bret Smelser, project leaders also purchased crab apple trees to place at seating areas at the property corners. Crab apples match the trees also found in downtown Sidney.
And speaking of seating areas, four benches and a couple picnic tables will dot the site. And to go with them are the original-courthouse-period light fixtures that will be installed on the east, south and west sides.
Workers still need to install grass.
“Looks like a lot of money, but we’ve spent a lot of money so far,” Commissioner Duane Mitchell said. “Be kind of in the pits to quit now, wouldn’t it?”
The phase is projected to cost $809,755.14, which includes concrete, electrical, plumbing, masonry and “exterior improvements.”
Commissioners joked that there’s only two options: leave it the way it is or proceed. A motion was carried to move forward with the landscaping not to exceed the estimated cost. “We got to get going,” Commissioner Shane Gorder said. “We got a lot riding on the centennial.”