Our county commissioners have announced that those massive wooden doors to the courthouse will soon close for good. Those doors through which President John Kennedy stepped to address a huge crowd in October 1962 will be nailed shut. Just what we need: another empty storefront on Main Street in Washington.
The reason given for the closure is the pending relocation of the district attorney’s office to the Caldwell building across the street. The commissioners say we can’t afford to have X-ray machines and sheriff’s deputies at the Cherry Avenue entrance to the courthouse, the Caldwell building and the main entrance.
The courthouse was once accessible from the north and south through huge doors, but those entrances were closed years ago for security purposes. Now the front doors will be shut and the portico and the steps leading to it – upon which marched lawyers and clients, defendants and witnesses, jurors, judges and couples seeking marriage licenses and so many others for nearly 120 years – will lose their purpose.
If we taxpayers can afford the $400,000 for the Caldwell building and who knows how much to bring it up to standards, and if we can afford to pay $1,500 a month for an internet connection for the building, it’s hard to imagine that we cannot afford to provide security for it, too.
It may be cheaper to maintain only one entrance and exit to the massive courthouse, but is it even safe to do so?
Closing those doors would be an architectural crime. The commissioners should rethink this.
South Franklin Township