Water-damaged Jackson County Courthouse still waiting for repairs six months later

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Six months ago, the Jackson County Courthouse suffered significant water damage. To this day, repairs haven’t started.

On Tuesday, FOX4 got a look inside the 90-year-old building to see the watery aftermath and find out what’s stalling the work.

“In the courtrooms, the mill work, the woodwork is all historic. That almost all needs to be redone,” Judge David Byrn said.

Busted water lines caused millions of dollars of damage to the courthouse. Six months later, repairs are at a standstill.

The damaged walls and rooms have dried out, but irritation over the stalled project remains.

“I think it’s frustrating to all of us at the court that it has not moved quicker,” Byrn said.

Jackson County said it’s waiting on the OK from its insurance company before repairs can begin. The county said the claim was submitted by mid-April and isn’t sure what’s causing the hold-up.

Judges do know that damaged courtrooms are now temporary storage for desks, chairs and other furniture damaged in January.

“As you can see, this entire area — from the water literally flowing down from the ceiling like a waterfall — all of this will need to be replaced,” Byrn said.

Byrn said five judges and staff still can’t access their offices. They’re holding court wherever they can find space.

“If we have trials, we simply find a place for them,” Byrn said. “It really has been inconvenient for all our litigants and the residents of Jackson County because every day they come in here and try to figure out where their judge and case is going to be heard.”

Jurors are also having to deal with the headache.

Only half of the elevators in the building are working, and because of their age, many can’t just be repaired. They’ll need to be replaced.

“The building is 90 years old, so there’s a lot of things that have happened over that period of time that will need to be addressed,” Byrn said.

He hopes repairs will begin in the next month. But it could be next year before the restoration is complete.

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