For 13 years I have been with Mediation Services of Eastern Iowa, a non-profit organization of volunteers and professionals who mediate small claims cases in Johnson and adjacent counties. I’ve helped many individuals resolve disputes. However, because of a lack of space at the historic Johnson County Courthouse, too often those critical mediation sessions are relegated to hallways and break rooms.
The issue of safety is a concern for us. Occasionally there can be volatility between parties, warranting a sheriff’s deputy to be present with us. More serious is that we all use the same entrances and exits, which have no security measures.
When attending a recent meeting at the courthouse, I was dismayed to see a lady with a prosthetic leg struggling to climb the stairs. Our courthouse needs to have facilities to accommodate disabled people.
It’s important that the proposed justice center include necessary expanded facilities for inmates, deputies and other staff. But please remember our courthouse needs to provide for the safety and security of people conducting business there. Make an investment for Johnson County now. Vote yes for the new justice center.
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