New courthouse to be on ballot
By Cheryl Odden, BHG News Service
With the option of refurbishing the McLean County Courthouse officially off the table, it will soon be time for the public to make a decision. Al Fitterer, an architect hired by the county to present cost estimates for several options – including renovation of the existing courthouse, told commissioners earlier this month that renovation could prove a liability for the county. As a means to resolve the "courthouse situation," county commissioners hope the public will agree to construction of a new facility during the November election. Earlier this year, after two courthouse employees became seriously ill with histoplasmosis, county officials were concerned that the source of the illnesses might be the courthouse. The concern was based on a long-standing problem – bat infestation in the original structure. Although steps had been taken (two years ago) to rid the structure of the bats and to seal its attic area, the problem has persisted. Due to seasonal shifting of the building, bricks dislodge, creating new entry points for the bats.