County Executive to Open Bids with
“Harry Truman” at Historic Courthouse

February 26, 2009 (KANSAS CITY, MO) – Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders will be joined by “Harry Truman” (re-enactor Niel M. Johnson) to open the bids today at 2:15 p.m. for site improvements at the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse located at 112 West Lexington Avenue in Independence, Missouri.  The bids will be opened in the courtroom where President Truman served as Presiding Judge of Jackson County (1927 – 1934).

These improvements are part of Phase II of the Courthouse renovation project. The goal of Phase II is to return the courthouse grounds to their 1933 appearance and address major drainage issues eroding the building's foundation. This phase will also add 70 parking spaces around the facility.

Last month County Executive Sanders declared the improvements to the building to be a public emergency.  By making such an emergency declaration, under Jackson County Charter and Missouri state statute, the County will be able to free up funds from its state mandated contingency fund.  It will be intended to cover the costs of preservation in the short run. Sanders said that “recent engineering reports and further deterioration indicate that we no longer have the luxury of waiting for help to fund the repairs necessary. If we don’t act, we are in danger of effectively losing this historic building.”

Jackson County’s Public Works Department designed the project in-house and is committed to having it completed before Santa-Cali-Gon Days begin on August 29.

The Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse at 112 West Lexington Avenue on the Independence Square houses President Truman’s original office and courtroom from his tenure as Jackson County Presiding Judge (1927 – 1934); the Brady Courtroom and the Jackson County Historical Society office and archives.  The Truman Courthouse has been on the National Registry of Historic Buildings since 1972.

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