Courthouse built in times of trouble

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

What a decade that was.

First, it was the meltdown of the stock exchange brought on, in no small part, by the speculative nature of financing coupled with rampant fraud, a decline in building and manufacturing and the weakening of the dollar. The largest bank in the United States declared itself bankrupt, while wars being fought on global fronts were extraordinarily costly in blood and treasury. Economic times were tough, indeed.

But, if you think I am referring to the last 10 years, you would be very wrong.

In fact, I ?am referring to the decade of the 1870s. Back then, economic times were really tough, making current conditions pale by comparison. There were no such things as unemployment benefits, Social Security, Medicare or insurance on bank deposits.

In spite of unimaginably dismal economic conditions, the good people of Henry County dug into their pockets and built, arguably, one of the most stately courthouses in the Midwest. And, 130 years later, she still stands proudly as the jewel in Henry County’s crown.

Proudly she stands, yes, but she is in desperate need of repair. Without these necessary repairs, she won’t last much longer. Now, it is up to us to ensure this beautiful courthouse is made sound again so she can serve many generations to come.

The cost to do this is really quite modest. What is being proposed is a sales tax, not a property tax. Actually, many items would be exempt from the tax — items like groceries, medical needs, titled property, farm equipment and supplies and items not sold at retail. Only 25 cents for ever?$100 of eligible sales would go toward the needed repairs. That’s the cost of one gumball.

Oh, and people traveling through Henry County would contribute as well. (Much like we contribute when we buy items in Moline,?Galesburg, etc.)

So I’m asking you to vote FOR the proposed public facilities sales tax referendum on Feb. 2. It’s our civic duty to future generations.

Tom Nicholson, Lynn Center