Clark County Courthouse Demolition Embroiled in Controversy, State Lawsuit

Update: The courthouse was torn down and replaced with a new building by 2012; the cupola was saved and now sits in the backyard of the courthouse. The Clark County Commissioners consented to a judgment on April 10, 2014, agreeing to repay $20,000 of the $57,500 grant they had received from the State of Missouri to renovate the courthouse they had demolished. Your tax dollars at work.

An alert reader informed me today that demolition of the modest but stately Clark County Courthouse in Kahoka, Missouri is underway. But while gutting of the interior has begun, Attorney General Chris Koster has informed Clark County that their demolition is not so simple. Apparently, as recently as 2008, the Clark County Commissioners accepted money from the state for rehabilitation, money that obviously now cannot be used or has already been wasted since the building is being demolished. Read the local Quincy newspaper’s take on the situation here.

Northeast Missouri is by no means the wealthiest corner of the state, and I can understand the logic behind replacing an aging courthouse–if and only if the County really cannot afford to rehabilitate the old courthouse. But the article states that the price of rehab vs. new construction is very much open to debate. Furthermore, if the facts of the case really are as simple as Attorney General Koster states, then Clark County certainly violated the law by demolishing the courthouse.

On a personal note, and while I would imagine the Clark County Commissioners don’t care what I think, I will state this. When my parents stumbled across Kahoka, still beautiful if a little rough around the edges, we marveled at what a quaint little town we had discovered. In fact, I have told many people about how fascinating Northeast Missouri remains, and how Kahoka would be a great town to capitalize on its historic past. Nearby Palmyra certainly has, with great success. With the demolition of the courthouse, I will assure anyone who asks that Kahoka is now a town that can be skipped.

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