Plans Being Made for Temporary Courthouse in Warren County

INDIANOLA, Iowa-- The juggling act to keep the court system running in Warren County is going on four months and counting.

In June, all court workers were ordered to leave the courthouse in Indianola because of mold and other problems.

“It is just not a safe and healthy environment to be in,” said Warren County Supervisor Crystal McIntyre.

The Clerks Office moved across the street. Criminal cases were shuffled to Marion County and civil proceedings require a commute to Madison County. Judges, court staff, deputies, prisoners and jurors are all making the drive.

“To go either direction, it's 25 miles. That's a half hour, 40 minutes drive each way,” said Randy Crum.

Crum's business, The Corner Sundry, is located on the square. He has noticed less foot traffic and business during the week since June.

“People are just uncertain where to go for certain services. Change is always hard,” said Brenda Easter, Executive Director of the Warren County Chamber of Commerce.

More change could be coming. The Warren County Board of Supervisors is working on a plan to move the court proceedings back to Indianola at the start of the new year. The vacant Fusion Fitness building on the west side of town would be converted into four courtrooms, with Judge's chambers and room for the Clerk of Courts Office.

“We're looking at three years minimum. It could be five or indefinitely if we don't get a bond passed,” said McIntyre.

A bond referendum for a new courthouse and jail in Warren County failed earlier this year. Another referendum is eligible for a vote in March 2017. McIntyre says the board likely won't take up the issue again until May or August.