April 18, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
60°F

Courthouse clocktower funded by casino tax dollars

Gamblers’ losses are winnings for the Medina County Courthouse.

County Administrator Chris Jakab estimated the county will receive about $2.1 million this year and $331,000 of that is going to restore the clock tower on the county courthouse.

Scaffolding surrounds the clock tower at the top of the Medina County Courthouse while workers from Coon Restoration & Sealants, Inc., repair roofing and decor. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

“The casino money is the sole source of funding,” he said.

Jakab said renovation of the clock tower is “the third and final phase” of a multiyear project beginning in 2011 that totaled $2.3 million.

The final phase began in mid-August and should be completed by the end of November, he said.

Phases one and two were largely structural repair, Jakab said. To complete the project, the county hired Coon Restoration & Sealants Inc., a firm based in Louisville, Ohio.

Until the project is finished, passers-by through Public Square may see scaffolding and workers surrounding the clock tower.

The project includes replacement and repairs to the roof and decorative moldings and fixing gaps created when the tower was straightened.

Jakab said that after the work is completed, all four faces of the clock in the tower will function.

Jakab said future plans for casino money could include funding additions to the county courthouse.

The plans are still in the discussion phase, he said.

“It’ll be part of the 2014 budget talks,” Jakab said, adding that more design work is needed before work can begin.

“It’s unlikely construction work could be done in 2014.”

The courthouse project could cost as much as $17 million, Jakab said, and may include a new entryway, a new courtroom, bigger offices for the county Adult Probation Department and new elevators.

He said the courthouse expansion would definitely happen, but he said it’s not been decided when or to what extent.

“We understand the judges, the probation department and the clerk of courts are cramped,” he said, “so we recognize there’s going to need to be expansion at some point in the future.”

Ohio’s four casinos — in Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati — were legalized in 2009 by a state constitutional amendment approved by voters. The casinos are taxed a third of their revenues, which are distributed per capita to all 88 counties.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.