Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders was joined by Independence Mayor Don Reimal and other local and state officials in cutting a ribbon at the Historic Jackson County Truman Courthouse this morning to commemorate the completion of renovations to the national landmark on Independence Square. The Phase II renovations started in March and were completed in time for today’s start of Santa-Cali-Gon Days in Independence—the deadline Jackson County imposed for the project.
Sanders viewed these renovations as essential to “saving the building.” The work included removing a retaining wall that had been installed around the Courthouse’s perimeter as part of an urban renewal project in 1972—the same year the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After every snow and rain, that wall trapped water around the Courthouse, causing deterioration to the foundation.
In addition to the wall being removed, the Courthouse grounds were restored to their 1933 appearance, the same year Harry S. Truman, then a presiding judge for Jackson County, oversaw remodeling of the building. An additional 70 parking spaces were also created around the Courthouse.
“We wanted to return the Courthouse grounds to their historic 1933 appearance and these renovations needed to be done as quickly as possible to save the building,” said Sanders. “This landmark means a great deal not only to Independence and Jackson County, but to the nation as well. We could not risk letting it deteriorate beyond a point of no return. With the retaining wall down and these renovations completed we can be confident the Truman Courthouse will continue to stand tall for generations to come.”