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Letter to board from Chief Judge courthouse: “Razing needs to happen”

Judge says 1.6 million for demolition is in construction budget

ROCK  ISLAND - Chief Judge Walter Braud  sent a letter to the Rock Island County board Monday, formally asking that the old county courthouse be razed over "safety and security concerns."

The letter requests that the Board authorize the Public Building Commission to demolish the 121-year-old building.

"Taxpayers demonstrate no stomach to spend any money on the Courthouse. Razing needs to happen," the judge wrote.

Judge Braud urged the board to agree to the demolition by January 1st, stating the 1.6 million dollar price tag to tear it down could be absorbed by the construction budget for the new courthouse annex.

"If you respond favorably to my proposal on or before January 1, 2018, your financial contribution to raze will be zero. If you reject my proposal or fail to respond by January 1, 2018, then the 1.6 million dollars will be released so that other needs tentatively cut from the budget can be funded and addressed. In other words, any delay past January 1 has a cost associated with it, not in your favor," he wrote.

As Chief Judge, he says, he has the legal authority to order the courthouse demolition, and the most economical time for county taxpayers, is now.

"As Chief Judge, I have the authority to administratively order the Courthouse razed. Please do no place me in that position. My preference is to spend scant public dollars on remediating the problem by razing the Courthouse instead of on litigation to force you to pay for razing remediation," he wrote.

The Board is expected to discuss the issue at its next Committee of the Whole meeting this Wednesday.