MEDINA — A group of concerned Medina County residents will host a “Save Our Courthouse” informational rally tonight.
The group said in a news release that it is upset Medina County and the city of Medina will spend “at least $40 million” on a new courthouse without voter approval. The rally will be 4:30-5:30 p.m. today at 93 Public Square.
The group said it believes the residents of the county should be consulted. It said part of the current courthouse will be demolished under the new plans, and a smaller, inadequate substitute courthouse will be built in its place.
It said the architects of the multimillion-dollar plan have not consulted some judges and department heads in the courthouse.
Medina County has spent about $100,000 on a “concept plan” by a Cleveland architectural firm.
Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson said he plans to attend tonight’s rally and hopes he’s allowed to speak to set the record straight.
“There has been no design completed,” he said. “We did a feasibility study — to see if the design would accommodate (both the common pleas and municipal courts). It was a test fit.
“Once we concluded that, we’ve moved on to the design phase.”
Hutson said almost all of the judges have deferred to Probate Court/Juvenile Judge Kevin Dunn to coordinate all the data of what space everyone needs. Medina County Domestic Relations Court Judge Mary Kovack has yet to engage with Dunn on the matter, Hutson said.
Hutson said the architect will eventually meet with each judge to determine space needs.
“We’ll come up with a design that works and is affordable to the county and the city,” he said.
“No design decisions have been made. What these folks are complaining about has yet to be determined.”
County commissioners have agreed to share the costs of professional design, planning and construction management services for the construction and management of a shared courthouse between the city and county. Financing for the overall construction costs are still being worked out.
The group said in the release the concept plan that has been proposed would require the demolition of all existing buildings on the Broadway Street side of the Medina Square except the front section of the “old” courthouse. The new proposed courthouse would be built inside the footprint of the existing courthouses.
“Taxpayer money should be spent wisely,” Donna Beheydt, a longtime resident of Medina County and a candidate for the Ohio House, 69th District, said in a statement. “The people of Medina County should have a vote on a $40 million local project that includes the demolition of iconic buildings.”
A public meeting on the courthouse is set for 5:30 p.m. Monday, July 22, at Medina City Hall, 132 N. Elmwood Ave.