Jackson County Courthouse won’t reopen until February 19 due to water main breaks

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Jackson County Courthouse is going to be closed for a bit longer.

Jackson County officials announced Thursday the downtown courthouse, located at 415 E. 12th St., won't reopen until Feb. 19 due to damage from two water main breaks.

Crumbled ceilings on courtroom floors and 10 feet of water in the Jackson County Courthouse basement, are just two components of the damage the downtown building suffered following the two major water line breaks.

"As a result of that flooding, many numerous systems were either damaged, severely damaged or completely destroyed," said Brian Gaddie, Jackson County Public Works director.

The courthouse has been closed since Jan. 31, when a large, underground water line outside of the courthouse burst.

Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were out of whack after that first major water main break. Just as the building was set to reopen Monday, another water line break then affected the 16th Judicial District space on the 6th floor.

The county said the water has been removed at this time, but crews are still working on repairs to damaged ceilings, walls, carpets and furniture.

"While the damage is largely cosmetic, it will take some time to make the repairs necessary to bring these spaces back to their previous state," Gaddie said.

That means the courthouse will remain closed until Feb. 19.

Right now, the county said it's too early to know just how much all the repairs will cost, but insurance should cover most of it.

"They will need adequate time to get this job done. We must do this the right way for the safety of our associates and of our citizens," Jackson County Executive Frank White Jr. said.

Closing the courthouse for more than two weeks requires a lot of shuffling. The county said it's worked hard to keep all services running.

"Not only is it important to hear cases just because it`s the right thing to do and that is the important thing to do, but we don`t want to have that backlog later on," said David Byrn, 16th Judicial District presiding judge.

Staff that typically work in the downtown courthouse have been relocated to other county locations, and the 16th Circuit Court has relocated its services and as many hearings as possible.

The court will send out an update each day on where hearings will be held the following day until the courthouse is reopened. Those notices will be placed on the doors at the downtown courthouse and on the court's website.

But they know some people might still miss location changes and hearings will be continued or rescheduled as needed, without penalty.

Additionally, you can call the records staff in Independence for more information or assistance at 816-881-4474 (civil), 816-881-4501 or 816-881-3141 (criminal) or 816-881-4882 (probate).

Meanwhile, the county's Independence courthouse will be open for business as usual. The county’s collection, assessment and recorder of deeds departments will also offer services Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Independence courthouse, located at 112 W. Lexington Ave.

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