MEDINA, Ohio — A Medina County citizens group believes taxpayers should have a bigger voice in the proposed $38 million replacement of the historic courthouse on Medina square.
The Save Your Courthouse Committee told News 5 the project should be put up for a vote, and is demanding residents have the opportunity to give more public input on the plan.
Committee organizer Pat Walker said the group is also considering a taxpayer lawsuit against the City of Medina to try and stop initial funding for a project manager and architectural drawings.
“Everything was started in secret, and we believe the public should have input,” Walker said. “I think the people need to be able to say, 'Look, this a problem,' or, 'Yes, we really like this project, let’s go ahead with it.'”
“So we’re asking our commissioners to halt everything and let the people have their input, and then see what happens," Walker said.
Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson responded and told News 5 Ohio law won't allow for a vote on the initial bonds for the project, but said if more funding is needed in the form a levy, it would be on the ballot.
“I fully understand that if we had to go to the public and ask them for money to support the project, that there would be a vote,” Hutson said.
Hutson told News 5 the commissioners will now consider saving the historic 1960's facade on the old courthouse and said additional meetings will be help to collect more public input.
“Saving the existing facade would cost about $800,000, we have also asked them to do a drawing to replace the facade,” Hutson said. "There will be a meeting on Oct. 22 at noon, at administration building, where the public can comment on initial architectural drawings on the project."
Still, Save Your Courthouse Committee members like Carol Gurney are concerned the plan could hurt the historic integrity and businesses on the square, and require greater public input.
“They’re going to take two years to remove it, and tear it down, build what they’re going to build," Gurney said. "And by then all the businesses here will be hurting and dying, just like Euclid corridor in downtown Cleveland.”