County votes to repair courthouse tower clock

Marshmallow Sign Photo: Marion County Lake workers finished erecting this 10-foot by 11-foot redwood sign Friday preserving the memory of Marion County as the first record holder in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most people roasting marshmallows simultaneously in a single venue. The sign is located at the site of the event along the east side of the lake. Working on the project are (from left) Brian Thiessen, assistant superintendent; Darrell Brewer, who welded the posts; and Gerald Bender, lake groundskeeper. The wood, lettering and paint for the sign were donated by an anonymous Marion County resident. According to lake officials, the plan is to construct a lean-to near the beach area and include a large photo of the event for the public to view.

Marion County commissioners voted 2-1 Monday to repair the historical clock on in the courthouse tower with money from public donations, and possibly use regular sales tax money if needed.

The clock will be fixed for the approved bid of $29,683 bid from Regulator Time Co. of Manhattan, which will also replace rotting untreated lumber with treated pine, and replace 256 square feet of plastic facing with half-inch glass as was used in the clock?s original construction.

Commissioner Roger Fleming, while making the motion, said, ?Nobody talks about the old clock, but many people hold Marion County history important in their hearts. This will be a big expense, but the people will want it done.?

Commissioner Dan Holub joined Fleming in his vote to fix the clock, saying something has to be done to stop the water leaking around the clock facing down into records stored in the judicial office on the third floor.

Holub said ?this is an expensive landmark? but the commission has to do something besides ?just trying to plug the hole.?

The two commissioners rejected the idea of walling up the courthouse tower without the clock in it.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke, who voted against the measure, said he thinks more consideration needs to be made in deciding what to do about the tower.

Meanwhile, involving the demolition process of another historical building?the old county jail? is set for ?asbestos remediation? (removal) Oct. 2, according County Clerk Tina Spencer.

Once the asbestos is safely removed, the rest of the building will be removed by county road and bridge to provide rock for road work.
Road information

Responding to a request from the commissioners, Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford said the average per-mile cost to the county for a 2-inch asphalt overlay is $120,000. Asphalt blade patching costs $70,000 per mile, asphalt chip seal costs $55,000, and applying 2 inches of rock to a gravel road is $16,000 per mile.

He said Marion County has 132 miles of paved roads, 745.5 miles of gravel roads and 650 miles of unsurfaced dirt roads.

The commissioners and Crawford decided to lay sand past some homes on north-south roads in order to improve visibility by reducing traffic dust.

Other business

A suggestion by Holub for doubling rent for a newly vacated mobile home lot at Marion County Lake from $1,250 a year to $2,500 a year was rejected by the other two commissioners.

Holub said there?s already one home at the lake where the owner pays the double rate.
The commissioners voted 2-0, Fleming abstaining because of conflict of interest, to close a half-mile of 180th between Upland Road and U.S. Highway 77.

Fleming said the action is only a closing, not an abandonment, of the road in keeping with commission policy to retain the right to reopen a road if future development warrants it.

Jackie Hett, a resident along 170th in the area, voiced concern as her family sometimes uses the road. But she said she understood the explanation about the expense of keeping open a seldom-used road with a deteriorating bridge.

Hett said the route along the road is picturesque.

The commissioners said recreational use also poses a problem on the road with four-wheel ?dirt truck drivers? tearing it up, making use difficult for agricultural landowners.

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