Judge may seek OSHA inspection of Rock Island County courthouse


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Originally Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2013, 7:35 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 22, 2013, 10:46 am
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By Eric Timmons, etimmons@qconline.com

Fourteenth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge Jeffrey O'Connor is considering asking the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to inspect the Rock Island County Courthouse.

Judge O'Connor wants to win over the public to his view a new courthouse needs to be built ahead of a referendum in April that could create a way to fund the project.

He said the 116-year-old building is in bad shape, and bringing OSHA in to assess it could help the public understand the need for a new courthouse.

"You've got to be able to demonstrate that it's got to go before you start spending a lot of money," Judge O'Connor said. "I'll be a part of anything that will get that across."

The referendum in April willask voters if they support expanding the powers of the Rock Island County Public Building Commission, which was established to build the county jail.

The building commission could then borrow money to build a courthouse. The same mechanism was used to fund construction of the Rock Island County Justice Center.

In an interview on Monday with the editorial board of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, Judge O'Connor said the building cannot be heated properly, has mold problems and likely is not in compliance with fire safety and disabled access codes.

"The time has long come and gone to do something," he said.

If the referendum is approved, the Rock Island County Board would have to decide where a courthouse would be built, and study cost and space requirements.

The board also could decide to build a new county office building through the expanded powers of the building commission to replace the existing building across from the courthouse that houses various county offices.

Judge O'Connor said there was a possibility the courthouse could be closed down by OSHA or because of a structural or mechanical failure.

He said he understands a proposal to build a new courthouse for tens of millions of dollars will be met with skepticism by some, but he said he hopes a public awareness campaign can convince voters the need is real.

"Nobody's trying to hoodwink anybody and get a fancy building," he said.

The county board voted last week to put the referendum question about the authority of the building commission on the April 9 local election ballot.





















 



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  Today is Friday, Aug. 1, the 213th day of 2014. There are 152 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A mad dog was shot in Davenport after biting several other canines and snapping at several children. The police should abate this nuisance — there are about 500 dogs in this city that ought to be killed at once.
1889 — 125 years ago: Track laying operations on 2nd Avenue, stopped by the Moline-Rock Island company last spring for lack of rail, have been resumed.
1914 — 100 years ago: Bulletins allowed to come through the strong continental censorship of all war news indicated that Germany was advancing with a dash against both Russia and France.
1939 — 75 years ago: Emil J Klein, of Rock Island, was elected commander of Rock Island Post 200, American Legion.
1964 — 50 years ago: Members of the Davenport police department and their families are being invited to the department's family picnic to be held Aug. 27 at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds.
1989 — 25 years ago: Beginning this fall, Black Hawk College will offer a continuing education course in horseback riding at the Wright Way Equestrian Center, Moline, located just east of the Deere Administration Center.




(More History)