SIDNEY — Shelby County Courthouse renovations are complete and the Shelby County Commissioners want to celebrate the revitalized building as the hub of local community life.
They met Thursday with Downtown Sidney Director Amy Breinich, Shelby County Historical Society Director Tilda Phlipot, Sidney Civic Band Director Phil Chilcote and Shelby County Maintenance Supervisor Chris Roediger to brainstorm ideas for an event to celebrate the renovations and commemorate the courthouse’s 135th anniversary.
A ribbon-cutting and ice cream social on the courtsquare are planned for June 19 from 2 to 5 p.m.
The $4.8 million renovation project began in November 2014. It put new windows, ground-level doors, fire alarm and HVAC systems and lighting inside the building and new roofs over the exterior entryways. Exterior doorways, stairways and columns were repaired and weatherized. In an additional work order, sidewalks were replaced, some repair work was done to the west portico and interior hallways were painted.
“We worked at the courthouse a lot so we can have it another 135 years,” said Commissioner Tony Bornhorst.
“You’ve made it beautiful again,” Phlipot told the commissioners. She talked about its original design.
“All the doors (into the building) are the same,” she said. “That was so whether you came from the north or the south or the east or the west, everyone is always treated the same in the courthouse. Justice will always be there for you.”
Planning discussions included what kinds of ice cream to serve. In addition to popular flavors, Phlipot suggested the possibility of offering sweet corn ice cream to acknowledge that agriculture is the county’s largest industry.
“We are the most unique county in the state,” said Bornhorst. “We are 34 percent industrial but agriculture is still bigger.”
The historical society will provide costumed docents during the social. They will give building tours and be stationed in the courtrooms to talk to people about important cases that took place there. The society will also erect a display on the lawn about the courthouse history.
Shelby County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Gillman shot a video documenting the renovations. It will be screened on a continuous loop in one room of the courthouse.
The Civic Band will perform following the ribbon-cutting, and small ensembles may roam the grounds entertaining with Dixieland music. The commissioners may invite school choirs and bands and area barbershop quartets to also participate.
“The Civic Band is excited to be a part of it,” Chilcote said.
Downtown retail shops and restaurants may be open during the event, which will close with a tree-planting on the courtsquare.
Breinich has contacted companies who worked on the renovations to ask for sponsorships. So far, Westerheide Construction Co. and ESG Energy Systems Group have agreed to support the social.