Winnebago Courthouse Officials Contend with Rain Water Drainage Issues

The historic Winnebago County Courthouse has been undergoing a two-year tuck point and reconstruction project to repair water and weather damage issues. The cost has been significant and to the point where the county has bonded to pay for the work. While the building itself has been worked on, other issues are now getting addressed.

Rainwater from storms has been running off from the complex and into the streets and sidewalks. The south end of the facility has been especially vulnerable because of the parking lot, the courthouse lawn, and other elements that cause water to run out onto the sidewalk and street. A French Drain is supposed to help funnel the water, but it continues to spill out over the lawn and onto the sidewalk. Courthouse Head of Maintenance Kevin Williams met with the Winnebago County Board of Supervisors to address the problem.

There are no city sewer drains along the southside of the courthouse lawn. Even if there were, the city does not allow for Sump Pumps to be connected to the street drains, so the county has to come up with another way to get rid of the water. In the winter, the water will freeze on the southside sidewalk creating a potentially hazardous situation. Williams stated that he continually salts the dangerous sidewalk during cold weather, but even that has its limits in a north Iowa winter.

County Auditor Karla Weiss said the county has done what it can in order to comply with the city regulations.

The county still has to concern itself with the ice sheet that develops on the south side sidewalk during the winter. County officials will continue to try and comply with the city requirements while striving to make the sidewalk safe for Waldorf University students and residents along the affected walkway.