Miami County shows off new courthouse plaza

The Miami County Courthouse Plaza was dedicated Thursday by current and past county commissioners as there was a flyover by a historic WACO airplane.

Miami County officials Thursday dedicated a new courthouse plaza that includes a historic flavor reflecting the 1880s Courthouse and an open invite for county residents to visit the grounds.

The $3.6 million project along Main Street in downtown Troy was designed by Garmann-Miller Architects and Engineers and constructed in two phases by E. Lee Construction of Delphos and Outdoor Enterprises of Casstown. Money for the project came from county reserve funds.

County Commissioner Greg Simmons said the project was needed for several reasons such as a series of underground tunnels that came from the power plant across Water Street to the 1880s Courthouse to heat and air condition the building and the caving in of some of the tunnels over time. There also were issues with the two plaza fountains that were leaking and the deterioration of a series of small steps across the plaza that had become trip hazard.

“We are very proud of what we’ve done,” Simmons said.

Commissioner Ted Mercer talked about some of the new plaza’s features including enhanced lighting for both security and aesthetics, night lighting that highlights the historic Courthouse’s architecture, use of 1850s jail stones in the new fountain south of the Courthouse and for seating around the plaza, addition of plaques to explain the statues atop the Courthouse and use of the original grounds sidewalks in the floor of the fountain.

As part of construction, 26 shrubs and trees were removed but the new landscape plan at the Courthouse and county Safety Building included 61 new trees and shrubs.

The layout “allows the plaza space to be freely used by the community, keeping it open enough for gathering … It is the people’s place. We are very proud of the plaza,” Mercer said.

The ceremony included a fly over by a historic WACO aircraft, which were built in Troy from the 1920s into the 1940s.

The passenger was Capt. Dave Norman of the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, one of the last American Marines to be taken from the roof of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon in 1975 as the U.S. left Vietnam. Norman was invited to ride along in the WACO during the dedication flyover in honor of his service.

Commission President Jack Evans thanked the county employees and public for patience during the construction project during the past couple of years.

State Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City) presented commissioners with a commendation from the senate.

The plaza dedication was followed by rededication of the county police memorial, also located on the plaza. The plaza dedication activities and the evening public program featuring entertainment were paid for not by taxpayers but four sponsors: the Robinson Fund, Kettering Health Network/Troy Hospital, The Troy Foundation and Premier Health/Upper Valley Medical Center.

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com.

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