Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice renovations cause residents problems locating the County Clerk's office

By Diana Coleman

Legal News

The continued renovation of the Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice has reached the second floor and is prompting the relocation of many services to the county's south campus. Among those being relocated is the Muskegon County Clerk's office, which provides a multitude of services for Muskegon County residents and others seeking vital records from the county. The clerk's office handles births, deaths, marriage licenses, elections, passports, business registrations, notary applications and concealed weapons permits. The offices also assist genealogical researchers with locating records.

The clerk's office is now relocated to the second floor of Building G in the Muskegon County South Campus complex. The address is 141 E. Apple. The building does not indicate the location of the office, but does have a sign on the outside of the building that reads "Central Services." It is hoped that signage will be erected at some point to help people locate the office.

The best way to reach the clerk's office is to take Pine Street, south, from Apple Avenue and enter the back parking lot of what was the former Baker College. The Central Services building is between the DPW and Corrections building and the Veterans Affairs building. There is ample parking and the second floor is accessible by elevator or stairs.

Nancy A. Waters, Muskegon County Clerk, said, "It was a huge undertaking to move the clerk's offices and the historical documents preserved in the vault. We started moving on Thursday, worked Saturday and Sunday, and were open for business on Monday morning. The IT staff was absolutely wonderful."

Staff members handling vital records, business registrations, CCW (Carrying a Concealed Weapon) permits, passports, and notary applications are located in one office and across the hall is the County Clerk, Nancy A. Waters, her assistant Jeanne Pezet, and Kimberly Grimm who is primarily focused on elections.

The move is temporary until the renovations are completed at the Hall of Justice. "We will be here at least two years or so," said Waters. "Then we will move back to the county building.

"I still spend two days each week (Tuesday and Thursday) at the county building," said Waters. "The Circuit Court Records office on the sixth floor is under my direction and I work from that office two days and commissioners meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I divide my time between the two locations."

The County Clerk has gone to great lengths to continue assisting the genealogy researchers. "We have set up a computer in a filing room area so they may continue their research. Many of them come in at this time of year or in the summer when they are home on vacation to look up information and I felt it was vital that we try to accommodate their needs as best we can under the circumstances."

Another inconvenience in locating the clerk's office away from the county building occurs when a couple applies for a marriage license and they need to obtain a copy of a divorce judgment for a prior marriage. They must return to the county building and obtain a copy from circuit court records. Another instance is when a person is applying for a CCW permit. They apply at the clerk's office, but then must go to the Sherrif's Department in the county building to obtain the necessary fingerprinting.

Overall, it is hoped that the transition will be smooth and residents will be able to find the offices without too much trouble. There are maps at the main entrance to the Hall of Justice and in Circuit Court records indicating how to get to the new locations.

Also relocated to the South Campus are the Muskegon County Treasurer, the District Court collections, probation, and Sobriety Court offices. The Register of Deeds office will also move to the South Campus sometime in early 2010 when the temporary location is ready.

The easiest way to get to the new offices if you are leaving the county building is to turn right onto Pine Street when leaving the main parking lot of the Michael E. Kobza Hall of Justice and stay on Pine Street until you have crossed Apple Avenue and see the entrance to the rear parking lot for the South Campus. If you are having difficulty locating the clerk's office you can always call 231-724-6221.

Published: Fri, Dec 25, 2009

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