County pursues justice center
FAIRMONT — Martin County Commissioners approved authorizing 2021 legislative representation on Capitol Bonding with Larkin Hoffman Tuesday, at a monthly fixed fee of $3,000 beginning Feb. 1, 2021, through July 31, 2021; plus any out-of-pocket disbursement such as mileage, parking, and related expenses. The County is looking to procure funding for a new Martin County Justice Center. Having been previously awarded $2 million to begin work on a new center from a bonding bill passed in 2020, that only helps with the predesign. Further state funding is a crucial key to any potential construction.
The fee from Larkin Hoffman is reduced from a fee of $5,000 previously paid by the County. Robert Long of Larkin Hoffman advised the board that the reduced price was due to a reduced workload and not being part of a full bonding session.
“With our experience with the last bonding session and the work of Bob and his staff, I think the Justice Committee figured out that this is something that is almost impossible for us to do on our own,” said Commissioner Kathy Smith. “I think it’s important that we move forward.”
“I totally agree with Kathy, we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere last year if we didn’t have Bob and his crew helping us out with this,” said Commissioner Steve Flohrs. “I think we’ve got to go along with this.”
Turning to another matter, the board heard from Chuck Mixson of the Martin County Veterans Committee Tuesday. Mixson presented and reviewed the design layout for the Martin County Veterans Memorial.
“We broke this project down into two sections — phase one and phase two,” he said. “Phase one was the front with the foundation, sidewalk, the handicap ramp, red granite sign, flagpoles, and the inverted “V” granite wall with the names.
“The next part of phase one, which should be completed any day now, are the four statues that go in the front. That is being paid for from our general fund and the legacy fund. So phase one should be complete in the very near future.
“For phase two, we applied several years ago for the bond bill to help us complete the rest of the project. The helicopter was part of phase two, but we got a chance to get that and we rushed that through and got it done, so that’s paid for and done in the back.”
Mixson then shared that the next part of phase two is to continue sidewalks all the way through the project, and building a four-foot retaining wall on the back of the memorial wall from the east end to the west end.
“On the very eastern portion of that wall we are building the outline of a ship,” Mixson continued. “It’ll be very similar to what you see out in Sioux Falls with the U.S.S. South Dakota, and it will just be a four-foot-high representation of the bow of a ship with a patio next to that. There will also be a statue of a Navy sailor with a seabag like he’s getting ready to board the ship.”
From that point back, there will be a nearly 300-foot sidewalk that will angle back to the east end of the memorial, going back to the helicopter and out to the bike path. Mixson also said there will be four patios, each with a bench, built along the sidewalk.
There will be five benches total, one for each branch of the service. Those have already been purchased. Also included in phase two will be light poles with security cameras, covering the entirety of the property to deter vandalism. Mixson also thanked the City of Fairmont for providing lighting for the helicopter.