Alva Review-Courier -

A good idea but not for the courthouse lawn


December 25, 2019

Marione Martin

Nikki and Arden Chaffee show the Woods County commissioners a book house they propose locating on the courthouse square. At right are commissioners John Smiley and David Hamil.

The Woods County Commissioners were faced with a dilemma during their meeting Monday morning. Arden and Nikki Chaffee, representing the Woods County Coalition, asked to place a free book stand on the courthouse square. While the commissioners all voiced their support of the idea, they had some reservations.

The Chaffees brought what looked like a large, very attractive birdhouse to the meeting. The white house set off with contrasting roof and shutters in red and blue featured a drop-down side with a window that was held in place by a magnet. When opened, it formed a shelf and access to the inside of the house where books would be stored. The house has a weather-proof finish. Arden Chaffee said Mr. Baker who built it used the ends of tongue depressors to form the fish-scale effect under the eaves.

The Chaffees proposed placing the free bookstand on the north side of the courthouse square just west of the kinetic art installation and near a bench already in place. They want to fill it mostly with children's books but include a few novels for adults. They believe the location would be convenient for shoppers wanting to take a break, people waiting for a movie to start or those waiting for courthouse appointments. The books could be read on the spot or be borrowed and returned later.

The Chaffees said they would arrange with a local welder to make an attractive stand to hold the book house.

The commissioners all thought this was a great idea, but Commissioner Randy McMurphy voiced some concerns about upkeep. He envisioned people calling the courthouse to complain about the book stand being empty. He also worried that someone might place undesirable materials inside, and the county would get calls.

Nikki Chaffee said they would be responsible for stocking and caring for the book house. Her shop, The Elegant Toad, gets lots of book donations. She said they would post their phone numbers for people with concerns to call.

People would still call the courthouse, said McMurphy. He voiced worry about added distractions for courthouse employees. The county also has experience with groups who have great ideas for the courthouse square, promising to take care of their project. Then a few years later, the project is forgotten by the group.

It was suggested the Chaffees consider putting up the book house in the pocket park just across the street to the north or in the pocket park by the library. The Chaffees thanked the commissioners for listening.

Commissioners present for the meeting were McMurphy, John Smiley and David Hamil. The commissioners made a few teasing comments to Hamil about a red cut on his cheek. He said it was made by a refrigerator door.

After looking at a several page report on six-month bids, the commissioners approved a motion to table any action until the next meeting. This will allow them time to study the list and choose the best bids.

An inventory resolution to junk a hammer drill was also approved. McMurphy said when he tried to turn it on, he found the motor had burned up. It was headed for the dumpster.

The commissioners rearranged the agenda to allow time for Jennifer Schafer to collect mail from the post office. She returned with only one bid for sandblasting and painting the courthouse jail. That bid from Onsite Mobile Blasting of Oklahoma City was only for sandblasting for a total of $32,000. No painting was included. Action was tabled until the sheriff's department can look at the bid and make a recommendation.

The commissioners also approved blanket purchase orders before adjourning.


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