We are honored to have each of you here and we thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to brave the first rain in 100 days to attend today’s historic groundbreaking and join in the transition of project vision to reality. I’m Carrie Gray and I’m humbled to play a small part in a ceremony in celebration of the
construction of the new Franklin County Court Facility Improvement Project by introducing today’s speakers. I’d like to recognize distinguished guests who are with us today. Larissa Bailey, who is here representing US Senator Pat Toomey’s office as well as
the Honorable judges of the 39th Judicial District whose support has been
vital to this project: President Judge Carol van Horn, Judge Shawn Meyers, Judge Angela Krom, Judge Jeremiah Zook, and Judge Todd Sponseller. Today’s groundbreaking ceremony
will begin with an invocation from Pastor Boileau, lead pastor of the First United
Methodist Church in Chambersburg. I call her Pastor Catherine. Thank you. Will you join me in your thoughts and prayers? God who is above all and in all and through all We thank you for this moment of grace. For it’s grace that we are here planning the dreams the work labors. It’s also a
grace that we are a part of this nation which promises us through that dream of the Constitution that every person regardless of race or creed or color of skin or native
tongue is made in the image of God and is protected by law and by rights.
We thank you for that dream and that dream that was passed to forefathers and mothers who worked and labored. We discern justice. Never perfectly for human justice does not ever fall equal with divine justice.
And yet they gave us this legacy upon which we stand. And this is a moment of grace to thank you for the grace we have known and to invite you in to this moment so that we might live this moment and all the moments that come out of it
in ways that lead future generations. And also receive it as grace and give thanks for what we did here in this moment. So God who is above all and in all through all, we invite you in and give you thanks. Amen. Thank you, Pastor.
At this time, you will hear from the Board of County Commissioners: Dave Keller, Bob Thomas and Bob Ziobrowski. Commissioner Chairman Keller will be the first to the podium for some remarks. Good afternoon, Judges of the 39th
Judicial District, Secretary Wetzel and fellow elected officials, past and
present, and all of you as our honored guests. Over the past 10 years we’ve seen
our population continue to grow as more people come to Franklin County to
live, work, and raise a family. These are the people who we focus on and celebrate today. We build and we renovate to ensure the safety of all who come to
the courthouse. Jurors, victims, witnesses, family,
defendants, law enforcement, employees, judges, and elected officials– they all deserve to feel safe and to be safe in this courthouse. We also build and renovate
for our residents who visit the Clerk of Courts office to apply for a marriage
license, for those who lovingly add to their family through adoption,
and for those exercising their second amendment rights and apply for a pistol permit–they deserve to feel safe and be safe in our courthouse, too. And for all of our
residents we build and renovate because we bear the great responsibility of
storing and providing access to the most important documents: marriage licenses,
military discharge papers, mortgages and deeds, and so on. The efficient and
effective administration of criminal and civil law as well as the safekeeping of
important documents are essential to a well-ordered society. We’re here to
support our citizens efficiently and effectively. Our residents are our customers and
through this project we’ll be able to serve them better. Today is also a celebration of our past and our future. In one sense this project began 10 years ago, but in
another sense it’s the latest leg of a journey that dates back to 1784. As
county commissioners, as judges, as officials, and as employees, we are
charged with doing better for our community. We are charged with meeting
needs when and where they arise. This courthouse campus, future administration building, and Archives facility, they are the result of centuries of progress, trials
and tribulations along the way, decision making, community partnerships, and collaboration. On behalf of the Board,
I thank you all for being part of it. For those of you who do not know me, I’m
Bob Thomas and my words are going to be echoing a little bit what Commissioner Keller
said. I want to start with saying that earlier this week I spoke with a group of Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts. One of the questions that was posed to me, I responded with something and it was about the word Change. I said something you need to get
used to in life is there will be change in life. I gave them an example of whenever I was a kid I listened to 45 RPMS or LPs and how we went to different types of tapes and then eventually CDs and now they’re all gone and now vinyl is back again. But the point is this, change is inevitable. We must embrace it. This county has grown and has changed and with that said, the change that’s coming here is going to be massive efficiency.
Efficiency like no one has ever seen before in this county. When we pull all these different offices together, the like offices here, the like offices up at the Administration Building, It’s going to be easier to navigate. But about navigation, what I want to say is this: I have a daughter that was born with
cerebral palsy. She’s never been able to walk, she will never be able to walk.
She’s been in this building many times sometimes whenever I took the
oath of obligation and we had to bring her in and we’d go through this door on the side, we’d bring them in the back way–all these different things. These buildings over the years weren’t built for people that were in wheelchairs or had walkers or had different disabilities. This building will be excellent no matter if you walk
with a walker, walk with a cane, or your’re in a wheelchair. You will be able to come in and access all the buildings efficiently, without the side door. To me
that’s one of the biggest accomplishments of this building. All
these other things are absolutely true, but making it bright and easy for the
residences to have the challenges and issues that’s what this is about.
And that’s one of the reasons, and a huge reason why we’re doing this.
Thank you all for your attention I’m glad to see you all here today. Thanks. I share Commissioner Keller and Commissioner Thomas’s pride in this project, and I agree that it’s moving the County in the right direction. I’m also
proud of the planning is going on for this project. It’s important to note that over
ten years ago studies by both of the National Center for State Courts and the consulting firm of Carter Gobel Lee recommenced the need for us to expand and co-locate judicial operations. But in this the Great Recession, we chose to modify some facilities and make do with what we had. Since then, the need has only increased. Over the past ten years, we have the methodically acquired tracts of land necessary to support the Judicial Center and parking. We sold the bonds to finance the project in advance, to take advantage of the very good rates available at the time. The tax increase of 1.5 mills has already been levied – there will be no additional tax increases for this project. It will be delivered on time, on budget. The efficiencies gained, and energy savings with this project will benefit Franklin County far into the future. Thank you.