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story.lead_photo.caption Cole County Courthouse Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

Cole County commissioners decided Tuesday to move ahead with landscape improvements around the Cole County Courthouse in downtown Jefferson City.

Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle has been working for more than a year with Jefferson City-based Central Missouri Professional Services and The Architects Alliance on the project.

The landscaping project will include reworking the sidewalks, moving benches and trees to open the sidewalks for pedestrians. Irrigation, electrical and stormwater work also will be done.

Mike Bates of CMPS said the work will be done along the Monroe and High streets sides of the building.

GBH Builders of Jefferson City was chosen to do the work with a bid of $321,920.

The money will come out of the county's capital projects fund.

Scheperle said work could begin in the fall or spring, and they had worked with the contractor on schedules, as they have been busy on jobs related to this spring's tornado and flooding which hit the area.

Once the work begins, Scheperle added, the contractor has 90 days to complete the project.

Bates said members of the public will have access to the courthouse at all times while the work is occurring.

After replacing all of the windows in the courthouse and annex in 2017, commissioners approved removing two damaged trees on the courthouse lawn facing Monroe Street. The heavy equipment used to install the new windows caused damage to the lawn and sidewalks, so the commission started looking at plans to put in new sidewalks around the courthouse.

The commission wants the work done in time for the county's 200th anniversary celebration next year.

Two groups — the Jane Randolph Daughters of the American Revolution and the Christopher Casey Sons of the American Revolution — have approached the commission about planting trees on the courthouse lawn. Each group would plant one tree, and each tree would be the same height as the removed trees. Another tree could be planted to mark the bicentennial.

Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman said the county's bicentennial committee could help with costs for a potential monument being considered for the courthouse lawn and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War could help with the cost to replace the courthouse flagpole, estimated to cost $2,000.

Bates said this work would complement any future work the county might do at the old sheriff's house and county jail directly behind the courthouse.


New warning siren, 
generator approved

In other business Tuesday, commissioners approved moves to get a generator for the Prenger Juvenile Center on Stadium Boulevard.

County Facilities Manager Greg Camp said Schneider Electric could move the generator that had been at the old county Health Department on Industrial Drive and install it at Prenger for $32,325. He noted the generator at the health department had not been used very often so it had a good life span, and a new generator for Prenger would cost an estimated $45,000.

Prenger needs to have electricity at all times to make sure the facility maintains its security systems, as it houses juvenile offenders.

Also Tuesday, Cole County Emergency Management Director Bill Farr told commissioners a new outdoor warning siren will be installed behind the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce on Commercial Way in downtown Jefferson City.

The county was awarded grant funding in August to help with an outdoor warning siren for the Jefferson City downtown area.

When the older siren system was replaced, Farr said, the siren that had been on top of the U.S. Post Office on High Street was taken down. Farr worked with the Jefferson City Police Department to determine a location that would be most beneficial.

Farr said the project would cost $30,000.

Under terms of the grant, the siren needs to be in place by the end of the year.

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