After six months, the Jasper County Attorney’s Office has broken its silence on the progress of litigation related to the inoperable Jasper County Courthouse clock tower, and it could finally spark movement on resuming repair work.
The Jasper County Board of Supervisors released a statement in August 2018, shortly after restoration work completed, explaining the clock tower “was not presently working.” Since that time, the county has been in legal proceedings with Indiana-based Smith’s Bell and Clock Service, the company contracted to do the approximately $95,000 restoration.
Jasper County Attorney Scott Nicholson made a brief public statement on the ongoing legal proceedings at Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting. Nicholson said although there is still daylight in between the two parties in the negotiations, he is advising the supervisors move forward with repairs.
“Jasper County has been working to resolve some legal issues with the company that was originally hired to refurbish the courthouse clock. Even though those issues have not been completely resolved, I have informed the board of supervisors, at this time, they may move ahead to try to bring the clock into repair,” Nicholson said. “For now, there’s nothing more that I or the other county officials can say about these legal matters, but I have informed and advised the board they can move on to further repair the clock at this time.”
The supervisors took no action Tuesday toward seeking out repairs for the clock tower. Due to the ongoing legal proceedings, county staff will not comment further on how long it might take before the clock once again chimes.
The project began in 2017 with proposals from county maintenance director Adam Sparks. The clock tower restoration received a $44,500 Historical Resource Development Grant and Country School Grant that same year from the State Historical Society of Iowa, one of 27 projects statewide to receive the award.
The bell and clock were first installed at the courthouse in 1910. The bell had been displayed on the courthouse lawn after being removed from the clock tower and was remounted during the restoration phase.
Two televisions were installed in the west lobby of the courthouse to stream continuous, real-time footage of the clock’s inner workings and mechanics.
In other action Tuesday, the board:
• Approved 3-0 the appointment of Jasper County Sheriff’s Deputy Corey Van Kooten.
• Rescheduled a public hearing from Feb. 12 to Feb. 19 in a dispute between two neighboring landowners, whether or not to reclassify portions of level B and C roads on East 40th Street, which provides access to both properties near Reasnor.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or firstname.lastname@example.org