On Tuesday, just before noon, I stopped by the county commissioner’s meeting to check things out. The board was not meeting in the courthouse on the corner of Granite Street and Ninth Avenue where they have been meeting since November of 1889.
Instead, the commissioners were meeting in the new Yellow Medicine County Government Center at the corner of Eighth Avenue and Second Street in downtown Granite. This isn’t the first time that the county board has changed meeting locations but it has been a very long time since the last move. It is likely to be a very long time before the next move.
The new Government Center houses the county’s general administrative offices and records as well as the board’s new meeting room. The building, built back in the mid-1970s as the Yellow Medicine County Bank, more recently housed several offices for Fagen Engineering until it was sold to the county and remodeled into their new base of operation.
The county’s Family Service Center and Law Enforcement Center as well as the court and judicial offices remain in their present locations on Ninth Avenue and it sounds like they will eventually be joined by the county attorney’s office and possibly some others, as well. The fate of the old court house and its woefully inadequate court rooms and the lack of much-needed security leaves plenty to talk about. There will be much more on that in the future.
Meanwhile, Yellow Medicine County has outfitted itself very nicely with these new offices and the new meeting space. Property and Public Services Director Janelle Timm gave me a quick tour of the facility after the board meeting was over. I was impressed. The customer friendly one-stop service counter and contact area will serve the public very well for many decades.
It reminds me a bit of what I saw a couple of years ago in Redwood Falls. In order to check on a property description for our sister newspaper, The Redwood Gazette, I had to go into Redwood County’s newly finished Government Center. It too was located in a re-purposed building, one that formerly had been Morgan’s Grocery store. All of the administrative offices for Redwood County as well as their board’s meeting room were in an area that was easily accessible for the public. Redwood County’s project had resulted in a new high-service user-friendly facility. I was very impressed. There had been a lot of controversy leading up to that project but after seeing it, I was convinced that Redwood County had made a great move that will serve their citizens well.
Page 2 of 2 - The same can be said here in Yellow Medicine County.
The county commissioners and the county’s administrative team deserve recognition and thanks for bringing the county’s services into an up-to-date facility at a reasonable price. While the new Government Center lacks the historic feel of the old courthouse, it teems with a much more user-friendly design.
Maybe that’s how folks felt back in November of 1889 when the county moved from their old wood-frame courthouse building into the new courthouse just to the west, across Fourth Street.
To make room for a new jail in 1892, that original wood- frame courthouse building was moved to a location that now houses the ambulance garage on 10th Avenue. That building was remodeled into a home and later into a duplex. Much later, it was torn down to make room for the present ambulance garage and office.
That 1892 jail was. of course, razed to make way for the new Law Enforcement Center, Jail and Family Service Center, back in 1999.
History continues to be made.