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Progress on Historic Adair Courthouse is so impressive

The Adair County Way at its Best: The Clean-up and Sprucing up is paying off big, already, in opening eyes to pragmatic possibilities for Preservation, Profits, and Potential right now, with a community centerpiece which is, in itself, a treasure few other villages, towns, or cities in America has - or could afford, what Columbia/Adair County already has -CM

By Ed Waggener

I was so impressed with the progress on the Adair County Courthouse this past week and can't wait to see it when the Adair Heritage Association shows it off on December 3, 2011, for Christmas in Columbia, 2011.

The past few days have seen more preservation progress evident than ever. It's being done by people volunteering beyond the call of duty. There's still a huge need for an infusion of money. That will come as the building can be enjoyed more.

There was a little bit of Tom Sawyer painting the fence in this week's show of force. People were intrigued by what was going on, and they came to see, to comment, and to marvel at what a real treasure this building is.

There are many ways to help: 1) Give a large gift to the upstairs meeting room or with other large gifts. 2) Donate your skills or labor or pay for the skills or labor of someone else. 3) Simply make membership in the Adair Heritage Association a priority for you, for members of your family and as gifts.

But most of all, begin thinking of using - not so much of uses, but actually renting and using - space in it.

Think of how much it would be worth to have an office, a food or beverage stand, or a day at time meeting room. How impressive an event staged in the building would be. About practical uses.

It's not far out. Personally, I sure wish I had a small office in the building for CM. There's no place like Downtown for Media, and one day that will be seen. What if they paid for the space. Divvying it up, and retailing it, one could see how it will, one day, be a revenue generating entity, far exceeding what the Administrative Offices of the Courts paid in the past which was considerable: $48,000 a year.

Wouldn't it be worth $200-300 per occasion for a bank, a school organization, an insurance agency, to use the courtroom for an event: A banquet, a play, a concert? The potential revenue from this one room could exceed what AoL paid in the past.

And the Downstairs offices? At least six could be rented out. What if they were $3-$500 per month each. That give $21,600 to $36,000 per year.

That could be kick started with a few government offices going back in. It isn't a far fetch to think of the old sheriff's office being used as a drive through office for a utility - the way it was used when locals stole liquor out of the office and passed it out the window - or so I've been told. It could be done.

And doesn't that make more sense than building new offices in awkward places which require extra driving to get to?

Think of it: A US Postal Station (Campbellsville has three downtown; Columbia has none); a Columbia Gas Service or Columbia/Adair Utilities Payment Center; a cable or dish office, a telephone or voice over internet service, an insurance office, a coffee or food shop (cooking doesn't have to be done on premises anymore to be outstanding; caterers are proving that), a KU office (remember that convenience) - the possibilities are so many.

Think of it: This can also be an incubator of businesses, where people can try ideas with almost no risks, from food stands to candy outlets, to mini-farm markets. Not free, but at affordable costs which could become a part of the overall budget for the building.

Perhaps this isn't the way things will go. Perhaps other uses will prove better. The thing is, when you go in the building, you want to be part of it.

The fact is, preservation is good business for the county and especially for the town. That's already being seen.

Preservation gets its best start with practical use, as so prominently displayed in the events of the past month, in the leadership of a small, determined group. They're showing the way, now it's time for the rest of us to pitch in. -ED WAGGENER

This story was posted on 2011-11-21 04:46:03
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