Keweenaw County board approves courthouse and sheriffs office repairs and additions

These include the replacement of windows and hardwood floors, the installation of an elevator to access the second-floor courtroom, and more.
Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 8:09 PM EDT
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EAGLE RIVER, Mich. (WLUC) - The Keweenaw County courthouse and sheriff’s office will soon receive some needed upgrades.

Keweenaw County Sheriff Curt Pennala said some of those improvements have been years in the making.

“There are issues with our buildings that have been there for a few years,” said Pennala. “But with the recent hire in maintenance, we came together and started looking at some of these projects and decided to bring them to the county board’s attention so we could address them.”

A millage passed in 2012 provides the needed funding.

On Wednesday evening, the county board gave approval for the planned projects to move forward.

One project to come is the addition of an elevator at the courthouse.

“There have been complaints in the past of defendants not being able to make it up into the courtroom,” continued Pennala. “What we’re trying to do is address that. We’ve been talking about it for years. We’re hoping in the coming months to a year we can get some type of elevator installed.”

Both the courthouse and the sheriff’s office will also have a number of windows replaced.

Pennala says it will reduce heating and cooling costs for the county.

In addition, both buildings need their hardwood floors re-finished.

“As far as the hardwood floor is, they’re at the point that, if we don’t do something soon, the wood will become damaged as opposed to just the finish,” said Keweenaw County Courthouse and Sheriff’s Office Groundskeeper Mark Aho. " So it’s important to get that taken care of now.”

While some projects have been years in the making, others that need repairs are the result of damage caused by last week’s flooding.

When the snow melted rapidly, water poured through a conduit and into an electric panel, entering the courthouse basement.

The county says it is currently working with Keweenaw Power & Lite to determine a fix.