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Medina courthouse plan sees movement


MEDINA — The city of Medina is on board with a joint effort to move Medina Municipal Court to the courthouse on Public Square.

This means a plan to expand and renovate the Medina County Courthouse continues to progress, according to an update provided Tuesday by the county’s Facilities Committee.

The plan, for now, will be to move the prosecutor’s office to the second floor of the Courthouse Commons building at 60 Public Square. The adult probation department would eventually shift over to where the prosecutor’s office is now at 93 Public Square.

Medina County Common Pleas Court would be expanded and the municipal court — currently housed at 135 N. Elmwood Ave. — would move to Public Square.

Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson, who heads the committee that also includes Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell and Municipal Judge Gary Werner, said there are no plans on moving any county operation out of the downtown area.

“That’s not even in discussion,” he said Tuesday.

While the project is still far from coming to fruition and key details like a timetable and costs are being worked out, the momentum continues to be on moving forward.

The county has hired James R. Duber of Studio Techne Architects and the committee has been looking at design concepts for an addition or partial replacement of the existing courthouse.

County and city officials haven’t agreed on many things in the past, but they do on the idea of a shared courthouse.

“That’s my hope and prayer,” Hanwell said Wednesday.

“We have had ongoing discussions that have been very productive from both the city and county perspectives. We see it as more convenient for public to go to one location, as well as more efficient and effective use of tax dollars.”

He said a joint project would allow the two courts to share a security entrance and personnel, as well as parking, halls, meeting rooms, restroom facilities and utility costs.

Others in the city share Hawell’s sentiments.

“We should try to find common ground,” City Council President John Coyne said. “We all represent the public. It’s all the same money.”

The idea for a joint-court project originated in 2008, but Medina County Commissioner Pat Geissman said previously that idea was scrapped when the “economy bombed.” But a huge step forward was taken in 2018.

The county purchased Courthouse Commons last year for $1.6 million. Renovations on the second floor in preparation for the prosecutor’s office are not finalized.

Before moving forward on any project, the common pleas and municipal judges would need to be consulted.

Current common pleas judges are Joyce V. Kimbler and Christopher R. Collier, as well as Kevin Dunn, probate and juvenile, and Mary Kovack, domestic relations.

Hutson said after the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday that the next steps are finalizing requirements and the square footage that is needed, what the new courthouse would look like, and — the major decision — what it would cost.

“Once we figure out how to finance it, we’ll share it with public,” he said.

“We have to figure out where we’re headed in the overall plan,” Hutson added. “I don’t want to sink a bunch of money in the old prosecutor’s office and then move them out again. …There are a lot of moving parts to this. We’re trying to bring it all together.”

Hutson said he has one stipulation.

“We are not knocking down the old, old courthouse,” he said. “That part of the building will remain in any design. The old 1800s section of the courthouse (with) the clock tower that everyone recognizes as the symbol of Medina County will remain.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at

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