Peculiar resident Larry Boucher says it is time to help the county courthouse tower clock start ticking again.
Boucher encouraged Cass County Commissioners to evaluate the costs of making the clock operational once again during their regular meeting March 21.
“What I would like to see is to bring this thing back to its original condition in the tower house itself,” he said. “It’s time to fix the clock.”
Boucher, who has a special interest in clocks, said the clock, which is mounted on the south side of the courthouse in Harrisonville, hasn’t been keeping time for about five years.
“It’s something that has been on everyone’s mind for a while. When it worked, everyone liked it and it gave an ambiance to the Square,” he told the Commissioners. “The thing that we really need to be concerned about is that we need to restore it, rather than just getting it running. We need to preserve some of the things that we have in the county.”
In 1909, a mechanical clock was installed in the courthouse. About 20 years later, the clock was electrified with two electric motors.
Boucher, who operates Larry’s Clock Repair in Peculiar, submitted a $10,000 bid to former Commissioner Bill Cook to make improvements in October 2009.
The proposal was turned down due to financial issues in the county at that time, he said.
Boucher said he later came to a conclusion that a clock tower professional should really be the one who does the restoration.
“I went back and thought more, and did more figuring, I came to the conclusion that I was out of my mind to put my neck out there on a crane for that kind of money,” he said. “My observation is now is that I would like to come to you and encourage you to start moving the direction to get a professional in here to give us a bid on it to get a cost on how much it would be to get it done right.”
A couple issues causing the aging clock are that universal joints are worn out and the striker needs attention, Boucher said.
Boucher recommended that the county look at receiving an estimate from a renowned New York clock tower restorer who is currently doing work in Kansas City, Kan. on a street clock along Minnesota Avenue.
The restorer typically charges $550 plus expenses to give an estimate. Boucher said the individual has agreed to waive the traveling expenses for Cass County if the Commissioners were interested in having him look at the courthouse clock when he is in the area later this spring.
Giving a ballpark figure, Boucher said he estimate the cost of repairs to be about $20,000. He said the county could look for grants to finance the project. All three commissioners voiced initial support for the project.
“I would like to see us entertain the idea and look at it,” Presiding Commissioner Jeff Cox said. “It seems to me as a pretty good cost benefit because it really comes down to our identity and history. Del Dunmire’s properties are up for sale, and if those get sold, a lot of these things might develop and places might begin to move in. I think it’s important because it’s a focal point of the historical Square, here.”
Cox added that if the county decides move forward, the expense could be drawn from the county’s Courthouse Restoration Fund, possibly next year.
In other business, the commissioners made the following actions:
-Approved moving the Public Administrator’s Office to an office space next to their existing location on the first floor of the Cass County Courthouse for additional room.
-Made a proclamations for Public Health Week April 1-7 and Child Abuse Prevention Month for April.
-Signed letters of support for the Cass County Drug Court and the Cass County DWI Court.
-Appointed County Clerk Janet Burlingame as custodian of records of the Cass County Commission, as well as being responsible to respond to all requests for access to or copies of a public record. The Commission also set the fees for document search at $10/hour and the cost per page copy at $.10, and that the county shall comply with the Sunshine Law.