Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Ron Craft can finally toss out the duct tape they have been using to patch the worn and torn carpeting at the Juvenile Justice Center.
The county commissioners on Monday approved the expenditure of $41,830 for new carpeting for the public areas and courtrooms at the 24-year-old facility. During the annual budget hearings in October, Craft has repeatedly asked the commissioners to attend to the carpet.
“I’m not asking for the full boat, but I’d like to get moving on the first floor,” Craft told the commissioners in 2013. “We have part of the first floor being held together by duct tape. We’ve talked about this for years, it’s our building, it’s your building, it’s my building. I think we need to move (on the work).”
Now that the carpet is set to be installed, likely within the next two weeks, the judge said many things conspired to delay repairs at the justice center.
“That’s why this thing took a little longer than everyone wanted it to,” he said. “Everybody wanted to get it done but the recession, coupled with the roof which was a major piece of work, had to be done before the painting could be done and the carpet. It had to be done in phases because of that.”
The county spent about $350,000 to replace the leaking roof and windows have been replaced, but the turquoise carpet is stained and held together with duct tape, the walls were dingy and bubbled from the leaky roof and young men and women have trashed the bathrooms — a mirror was ripped off a wall in the men’s bathroom, graffiti decorated the stalls and walls, counter tops have been cracked, and sinks have been flooded.
It cost around $24,000 to revamp the first floor bathrooms and the second floor restrooms will be attended to next year when they paint and install carpet in the back office area.
Commissioner Cindy Carpenter has been pushing for the repairs for years also. She said the building has been an “embarrassment” but it isn’t the only one in need of attention. She said work is currently underway at the Historic Courthouse to fix Judge Randy Rogers’ court file room and because of previous budget constraints other office holders have had to pay for capital projects out their own budgets, rather than tapping the general fund.
Now that finances are much more favorable in the county, Carpenter said she wants to build a schedule for capital improvements.
“It isn’t as if we’ve put together a comprehensive plan or scheduled replacement yet. We’re still just going back to repairing those things that desperately have to be done,” she said. “I would like us to move forward into a strategic plan.”