OTTAWA — Franklin County commissioners heard proposals to repair several buildings during its Monday study session.

Brandon Sands, maintenance director, laid out plans to fix several items in the historic courthouse, the jail roof and the HVAC system in the district court building. Estimated cost for these items would be around $375,000.

“We talked on several occasions about where our reserve balances are at and our capability to take on some of the projects that are past due,” said Derek Brown, county administrator and counselor. “What we have done is come up with a tentative recommendation to the board. We know we can afford it on an appropriate time line.”

Sands said the courthouse railing needs replaced, the clock tower needs new glass, and there is moisture in the courthouse basement walls causing the plaster to come off in some areas. The estimated cost for the railing was $18,500. The process of removing the moisture would cost about $11,000.

“We are exploring the option of having the railing made and us putting it in,” Sands said. “The railing on both sides of the courthouse is in bad shape.”

Sands said there are a couple of options to fix the clock tower. He said a full rebuild, which includes replacing all the glass faces, would be $71,000. A partial rebuild estimate is about $42,000. That proposal would fix the faces and fine tune the bell.

Sands said Wayne Duderstadt, who is refurbishing an historic house in Ottawa and a local banker, offered to help write an application for a Heritage Grant.

“He has experience with applying for that grant,” Sands said. “It is my understanding the group that makes those decisions are pretty willing to give money to courthouses to fix their clocks.”

Brown said the grant could be a big help with this project.

“That would be a very compelling project for the Heritage Grant,” Brown said. “It is not an urgent need. Let us walk through that Heritage Grant process and see how that goes.”

Sands said removing the water from the basement walls could be a tricky resolution. He said Renodry USA offers a product they would put in the courthouse ceiling and causes the water to push out.

“The product has been used in Europe for about 30 years,” Sands said. “In the last three years, they have opened an office in the United States. There is not a whole lot of this being used here. Everybody I talked to has seen positive results from this. The company guarantees you will see the walls dry out in three years. If we don’t, we will get our money back. They do a lot with historic buildings.”

Brown said because the courthouse is a tourist attraction, all repairs are eligible for transient guest tax fund.

“The courthouse is the preeminent tourist destination in this county,” he said. “The courthouse gets more visitors than any of our other tourist destination in the city.”

Sands said putting another layer of shingles on the jail roof would cost about $72,000.

The district court’s HVAC system estimate to fix would be $275,000.