By Nancy Bowman
The Miami County commissioners Jan. 18 debated the best approach to planning and preparing for the Courthouse Plaza renovations project.
Commissioners met with Chris Monnin and Kathy Trejo of Garmann-Miller of Minster, the firm they agreed to hire earlier this month to help with the plaza update and lighting project.
Meeting topics included how much the firm would be paid for initial work and what that work would encompass.
The commissioners have talked for several years about a project to update the plaza area between the historic Courthouse and the county Safety Building built in the early 1970s. The area includes two fountains fashioned from pillars from a former county jail building, the brick covered plaza, small steps leading from sidewalks and aging light fixtures.
The county has filed a request for around $1.5 million from the state capital budget. The commissioners hope to know by July if that funding is a possibility. The available funding might be directed from the traditional individual projects proposed across the state toward replacing voting machines statewide, Commission President John "Bud" O'Brien said.
Regardless of whether the county's state request is approved, it still needs to do at least the plaza replacement portion of the project, the commissioners agreed.
The plaza is of concern because of the current layout with small steps and bricks that are deteriorating or have settled, resulting in trip hazards and areas for pooling of water and ice.
The commissioners debated how much to put into upfront work before knowing if the state funding would be available.
Commissioner Jack Evans questioned the need for meetings with the city of Troy and the local historical society for input before that answer is known.
Others said that input is needed if the commissioners want designs and cost estimates available to show the state if it is going to consider the individual project proposals.
Commissioner Greg Simmons said the information collected would be beneficial whether the project is done now or two years from now. "I would like to see where we are going with this," he said.
"If the state funding doesn't come in and we decide is too expensive at this point, it doesn't mean in two years state funding won't come back. You will be head of game, have the information you need, have had the public meetings," O'Brien said.
In the end, Monnin and Trejo said they would draw up a proposed contract with their proposed fees for a phased project starting with the schematic designs and later detailed design and other services.
The initial work on the schematic designs will include use of subcontractors for surveying and other information gathering needed to determine conditions underground . That information would be vital in project design and what could or could not be done.