A Richland County project that is expected to bring more business to the Decker Boulevard area is closer to completion. You’ve likely noticed the transformation of the old Kroger shopping center at the intersection of Decker Boulevard and O’Neil Court.

More than 100 construction workers are trying to get the new Decker Center facility finished before the end of the year.

The renovated buildings will be home to the Central Court Magistrate — which will include traffic courts and magistrate courts— a Richland County Sheriff’s Department Regional Headquarters and a community room. Sheriff Leon Lott says he pushed for a place for the community to be able to come together in a secure and safe environment.

“It’s centrally located in that region where all the traffic is at. There’s going to be a lot of people coming in and out of there with the traffic court and the court system there. So us having a regional headquarters there and just that visibility and that presence will provide security,” says Sheriff Lott.

The Richland County Central Court will relocate from 1400 Huger St. to the new Decker Center, which will house eight courtrooms. The largest of the courtrooms will be reserved for traffic court, which could serve several hundred people a day.

The Sheriff’s Department will relocate about 100 employees to a substation in the center, and a community room will be available for neighborhood events.

The Decker Center also will include environmentally friendly elements, such as a system for capturing rain water from the roof to water plantings.

Officials say the project is still under budget, but while it was ahead of schedule for some time, the October floods did cause some delays. Crews worked to contain runoff from the site. But the project manager says they were able to use it to their advantage when they put in additional storm water measures. Since then, everything is back on schedule, including being $2 million under budget.

Richland County leaders are anxious for the new life the Decker Center will bring.

“We can assure the public that once this is done, once the skin of this building has been taken off and the new skin is on the building, it’s going to look like a fantastic facility. It’s going to be a great economic development driver for this community,” says the Capital Project Program Manager, Chad Fosnight.

Richland County Councilman Jim Manning said, “What it’s going to do for the businesses along the corridor, we just can’t even imagine how exciting it’s going to be.”

Fosnight said the Decker Center facility will be open by the end of the year as long as construction stays on schedule.

Copyright 2016 WIS. All rights reserved.


Brittany Grabski