David Lias

In this week’s reporting on Tuesday’s decision regarding the Clay County Courthouse, Jail and Law Enforcement Center, we briefly touch on the work done by the aptly named Clay County Courthouse, Jail, and Law Enforcement Planning Committee.

We admittedly do a disservice to that group because our reporting does a poor job of reflecting just how hard its members have worked in the past two-plus years.

It’s important to keep all of this in mind, I believe, as the June bond election approaches. The election will allow us to determine whether we will have a new courthouse, jail and law enforcement facility to replace current buildings that house those services.

There was no knee-jerk decision made Tuesday. Anyone who has kept track of the committee and its communications with the County Commission and, ultimately, the public, knows that this process has been a struggle in which objectively absorbing data, no matter how compelling – be it in the areas of history or costs or brainstorming to try to determine how Clay County citizens may best be served – is extremely difficult.

This hard task was made even more difficult this past year by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will have a big decision to make soon. I hope all of us to put as much thought into our ultimate, personal conclusions regarding the bond issue as the committee has.

It probably wouldn’t hurt to thank committee members -- Robert Fuller, Marty Gilbertson, Greg Huckabee, Meghan McCaulry, John Walker, Steve Waller, and Nate Welch plus several non-voting ad hoc members including Sheriff Andy Howe, Chief of Police Matt Betzen, Auditor Carri Crum, and States Attorney Alexis Tracy -- for the Herculean effort they’ve made on the behalf of all of us.

The Committee’s Chronology of Activities

January 13, 2019 - Joint meeting with the Clay County Commissioners

January 22, 2019 - First regular meeting

January 24, 2019 – Visits to Le Mars and Orange City, IA

February 10, 2019 - Visits to area jails and courthouses – Yankton SD; Pender NE;

(plus a private visit to Deadwood, SD by Howe and Betzen conducted earlier)

February 25, 2019 – Regular Meeting

March 18, 2019 – Meeting with Art Rusch

April 19, 2019 – Visits to Worthington, MN and Spirit Lake, IA

April 30, 2019 – Regular meeting

May 7, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

May 9, 2019 – Regular meeting

May 21, 2019 – Regular meeting

June 7, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

June 13, 2019 – Regular meeting

July 2, 2019 – Regular meeting

July 9, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners – submitted recommendation

July 23, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

July 31, 2019 – met with Rotary Club – Fuller, Waller, Betzen, and Howe attended

August 6, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners – recommended action postponed

August 13, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners – approval to build a new building was unanimous

August 13, 2019 – Chair interview with David Lias of the Plain Talk

August 15, 2019 – Chair met with Assessor’s Office staff

August 19, 2019 – Regular meeting

August 22, 2019 – Chair held discussion meeting with courthouse employees

August 23, 2019 -- Chair held discussion meeting with courthouse employees

August 27, 2019 – Chair met with Jose Dominguez – City Engineer

August 29, 2019 – Regular meeting

September 3, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

September 5, 2019 – Chair met with Lions Club – Betzen, Huckabee, and Welch also in attendance

September 10, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners – Later the Chair had phone conversation with State Engineer Office - Brent Morford and Stacey Langdreau

September 13, 2019 – Conference call with State Engineer Stacey Langdreau – Fuller, Walker, Crum, Packard, and Tracy in attendance – joined later by Howe and Gilbertson

September 18 , 2019– Chair met with VCDC NeXT Program – Fuller, Crum, Betzen, Huckabee, Howe, and Waller attending. 30-35 audience size

September 23, 2019 – Regular meeting

October 9, 2019 – Regular meeting

October 10-22, 2019 – Contacts with land owners

October 16, 2019 – Meeting with ShiveHattery Architect

October 22, 2019 – Meeting with Prochaska Architect

October 23, 2019 – Meeting with Lloyd Company

October 23, 2019 – Meeting with Johnson Construction Company

October 24, 2019 – Meeting with Venture Architect

October 30, 2019 – Meeting with Architectural Associates

October 30, 2019 – Regular Meeting

November 4, 2019 – Meeting with Jans Corporation

November 5, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

November 12, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

November 18, 2019 – Chair attended pre-bid meeting for the Vermillion School District’s new administration building.

November 20, 2019 – Regular meeting

November 26, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

December 3, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

December 10, 2019 – Chair met with county commissioners

December 12, 2019 – Regular Meeting – Clay County Historical Society

December 18, 2019 - Regular Meeting - Dick Strassburg – Tegra Group

January 6, 2020 – Regular meeting

January 21, 2020 – Regular meeting

January 28, 2020 – Planning meeting for city council update

January 31, 2020 – Regular meeting - Architect interviews

February 1, 2020 – Jail Tour conducted by Andy Howe for Ray Ring & Art Rusch

February 3, 2020 – Committee members met with Vermillion City Council

February 4, 2020 – Chair met with county commissioners

February 5-6, 2020 – Committee members and commissioners traveled to Pierre to testify on HB1099, ½ cent sales tax bill

February 11, 2020 – Chair met with county commissioners

February 13, 2020 – Chair met with county commissioners – Architect agreement approved

February 21, 2020 – Committee members visited Hutchinson County Courthouse

February 24, 2020 – Committee meeting with JLG/BWBR architects

March 2, 2020 – Committee reviewed CMAR applicants

March 13, 2020 – Committee interviewed four CMAR finalists

March 20, 2020 – Committee (electronically) agreed to negotiate with its second choice firm to serve as CMAR

April 13, 2020 – Committee and JLG/BWBR meet jointly via Zoom

April 20, 2020 – Committee and JLG/BWBR and Beckenhauer Construction meet jointly via Zoom

June 8, 2020 – Committee and JLG/BWBR meet jointly via Zoom

June 15, 2020 – Committee meeting via Zoom

June 16, 2020 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

June 24, 2020 – Committee chair met with Greg Huckabee and two USD students to plan for production of videos via Zoom

June 30, 2020 – Committee chair met with Government Research Bureau at USD via Zoom

July 7, 2020 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

July 14, 2020 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

July 17, 2020 – Video sub-committee via Zoom meeting

August 3, 2020 – Committee met with Tom Grimmond via Zoom to discuss the bond market

August 4, 2020 – Sub-committee met to discuss Howe memo about building concerns

July- August, 2020 – Production of courthouse videos

October 6, 2020 – Committee Chair met with county commissioners and county sheriff

October 27, 2020 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

November 1-30, 2020 – Committee chair met (via Zoom) with staff at the USD Government Research Bureau to develop a survey to be sent to Clay County residents.

December 2, 2020 – Committee chair met with commissioner-elect Betty Smith to discuss the work of the Clay County Courthouse, Jail, & Law Enforcement Facility Planning Committee

December 7, 2020 – Chairman completed a report summarizing the activities of the Courthouse Committee during its first two years.

December 8, 2020 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

December 11, 2020 – Two Year Summary Report featured on the front page of the Vermillion Plain Talk newspaper as well as posted on the Clay County webpage and the VCDC webpage a few days later.

December 22, 2020 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

January 5, 2021 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

Survey postcards mailed to Clay County residents on January 8, 2021

March 1, 2021 – Committee meeting via zoom

March 2, 2021 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

March 2/3, 2021 – Survey results distributed

March 9, 2021 – Committee chair met with county commissioners – meeting story and ad placed in Broadcaster and Plain Talk.

March 11, 2021 – Committee meeting via zoom

March 18, 2021 – Community Listening meeting

March 25, 2021 – Committee meeting via zoom

March 30, 2021 – Committee chair met with county commissioners

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