New Johnson County Courthouse construction on hold

JOHNSON COUNTY, IL – The new Johnson County Courthouse project has been delayed. People in the county voted for a 1-percent sales tax increase in 2016 to pay for a new courthouse, but local leaders now say building costs are higher than they originally thought.

County officials say the new courthouse will still be built. It just might take a little longer.

“The view will be different,” says local business owner Ginger Endrizzi.

Endrizzi owns an antique shop on the Johnson County Square. She says she has many memories of the old courthouse. “Since I’ve been here my whole life, that’s all I’ve ever known is the square,” says Endrizzi.

The county has already purchased land for the new courthouse, but it could be a while before any work actually starts.

“They say it has been slowed down or put on hold or something until they get caught up with more money,” Endrizzi says.

County Board Commissioner Ernie Henshaw says the high cost of the building has delayed to construction of the new courthouse.

“Our sales tax is generating what we said it would the problem is the cost of the building and what we need has come in higher than what we hoped it would,” says Henshaw.

Henshaw says they plan to continue to collect the sales tax until the end of the year and then assess the project. He says, no matter what, there will be a new courthouse.

“We initially started this 10 years ago, and so this has been going on a long time. It’s a big project, and it’s going to take some time getting it done,” Henshaw says.

Endrizzi like many others hope the project is completed soon.

“If they are going to do it, then we need to go ahead and fix it up and get started,” Endrizzi says.

Some in the community say they hope the new courthouse will help expand and grow Johnson County no matter how long it takes.

“We love Johnson County. We’re just trying to keep it going,” Endrizzi says.