BENTON, IL — A large crowd turned out Monday afternoon to witness Franklin County history as the 1875 Franklin County Courthouse was officially decommissioned on the Benton Square. Members of the Franklin County Board were on hand along with other state and county officials to share a few words about the courthouse and its history and what’s coming with the new $20.8 million courthouse on the Square.
Franklin County Circuit Clerk Jim Muir says it took a bipartisan effort to sell this new courthouse project to voters last year seeing that two other courthouse referendums failed in recent years. He says it’s time now to move toward the future with construction of a new 47,000 square foot courthouse that will face west on the Benton Square.
The new courthouse will also have a sally port on the north side where law enforcement can drive up, unload prisoners and put them in holding cells. Secured elevators will also be used for prisoners. This will be a major safety improvement because prisoners were brought in the same door the public used at the old courthouse.
Once the new courthouse opens, the courts and the Circuit Clerk’s office will move back from the Campbell Building. The County Clerk and County Treasurer will remain in the Campbell Building. Other county offices that were in the courthouse have been in the Campbell Building for some time now.
Click here to listen to Monday’s ceremony in its entirety.