By LYDIA BERGLAR
The Sentinel recently ran articles about the historic courthouse renovation, the train depot renovation, and the new elections building. Since the county government is juggling these projects and more, here is a summary of all the projects. The Sentinel also inquired about the old North Dade School property which belongs to the county.
Animal Shelter: There is no major progress on the Dade County Animal Shelter (to be located behind the transfer station), but Ted Rumley (county executive) reported that Alex Case (City of Trenton mayor) is working on getting the request for bid posted.
Historic Courthouse: As covered last week, the bottom floor of the courthouse will house the Alliance for Dade and Visitor’s Center (the county will no longer have to rent the current Alliance space) a new gift shop, an office for the Industrial Development Authority (there is no current IDA office), the Dade County Historical Society, and the Trenton-Dade County Historic Preservation Commission. The top floor will be used as an event and meeting space, with options for the public to rent this space.
Train Depot: The public defender’s office (currently located at 129 Case Avenue) and Soil and Water Conservation office will move into the train depot. One extra room in the depot has yet to be assigned a purpose. The current public defender’s office will be auctioned off by the county, and the current Soil and Water Conservation office (in the Dade County Administrative Building) will become a multi-use office for the county.
Elections Building: The county purchased about three acres (commonly referred to as “the Dyer property”) behind the Bank of Dade to build an elections building. The old buildings that sat on the lot have been removed, and clearing and dirt work has begun.
Rumley reported that the county is preparing to request bids for the project. He said that the elections building is a top priority because of the elections timeline and needing to satisfy Secretary of State requirements.
The current space used by the elections office (in the Dade County Administrative Building) will return to its previous use as the commissioners’ office. Rumley said, “Currently, they don’t have anywhere private where they can meet with their [constituents].”
North Dade School: When the county government and school board swapped properties in May 2022, the county became the owner of the old North Dade School, located at 18277 US-11, Trenton. According to the tax assessor’s records, the 10.5 acre property is currently valued at $595,500.
Rumley reported that the county will not sell the property. He said that conversations have discussed turning the building on the north end into government/Dade County Sheriff’s Office evidence storage. He also hopes the main building can one day be turned into a functional building for the community, saying, “It’s not in as bad a shape as it looks like.”
If the county is awarded another grant for storm shelters, this property will be the North Dade storm shelter site. (The shelters must sit on county property.)
The commissioners had little to add to Rumley’s comments. Robert Goff (District 3 commissioner) noted that not much has been discussed among the commission about the property aside from storage. He noted, “The old building was used for square dancing and such, but it is no longer in use due to its condition. As for my personal feeling, at this time, it is certainly [lower on the list of priorities than] projects like the elections facility and train depot.”
Melissa Bradford (District 4 commissioner) agreed that not much has been discussed and that the buildings aren’t in the best shape.