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OSAGE - With discussions on whether to remodel or rebuild the current courthouse continuing, a group of concerned Mitchell County citizens recently met to formally organize to help save the structure, built in 1858.

The Mitchell County Board of Supervisors has not determined a definite course of action regarding the future of the courthouse.

They have stated several county residents have expressed their concerns of no additional funds being spent on the current courthouse.

Approximately 25 residents met with Mary Mills-Dunea and Betty McCarthy to discuss possible interest of forming a non-profit entity called "Friends of the Courthouse."

"We would become a 501(c)(3) with a board of directors," said Mills- Dunea. "At the meeting we had several people express interest in serving on the board."

Upon structure as an official organization, members will be looking for support from across the entire county.

Mills Dunea went on to state, "This is a building that belongs to the entire community of Mitchell County."

In addition to looking for help from residents across the county, the group will be looking for the assistance of the Mitchell County Historical Preservation Commission.

"The Historical Preservation Commission will be a great resource of information on how we best can help save the courthouse," said Mills Dunea.

Besides already having a positive response from Mitchell County residents, Mills Dunea received a phone call from a Floyd County resident wanting to help.

"The individual called and said even though they weren't a resident of Mitchell County, they loved our courthouse and didn't want to see it torn down," she said.

Mills Dunea added she had received phone calls from former Mitchell County residents expressing their concerns and offering support of the organization.

"People are beginning to express interest in saving the courthouse," she said. "They also need to let their county supervisor know."

The supervisors were recently notified the county was the recipient of a Certified Local Government Planning Grant totaling $14,000. Mitchell County would receive $8,400 and would have to match the remaining $5,600 through cash and in-kind donations.

As part of the grant, a "friends" group is to be formed to help raise support in the county for the rehabilitation of the courthouse.

If the county supervisors choose to remodel the courthouse, 25 percent of the final cost of the project would come back to the county through the "Friends of the Courthouse."

"The 25 percent credit would come to the 'Friends' group to be used for future remodeling or projects at the courthouse," said Mills Dunea.

"We are looking forward to working with the Mitchell County Supervisors to help save this great historic treasure here in north Iowa."

For more information regarding the "Friends of the Courthouse" contact Mary Mills-Dunea at 641-832-2806.

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