Chiming in on the Hendry courthouse clock

LaBELLE — To the shiny, restored Hendry County Courthouse clock, chimes would be a nice addition, local folks think.

Hendry County Administrator Jennifer Davis told commissioners at their recent meeting of a fundraising campaign to add musical chimes to the courthouse clock tower, which has been under renovation.

Commissioner Darrell Harris brought up the topic Feb. 12 by asking her, “On the clock tower, are we going to be able to get it finished?” He was wondering if it would be ready before the Swamp Cabbage Festival, which takes place this weekend in LaBelle.

She explained that when the clock refurbishment project was put out to bid, using a historical grant awarded to the county for courthouse renovations, “that was not included, any kind of chimes for the clock tower.

“And so there’s a group — the City of LaBelle is interested in potentially getting some chimes as well as some other organizations — and they are willing to potentially pay for it, so I was waiting to get that info from them officially and then bring it before you, because you would have to approve a change order and approve the purchase if that’s what you wanted to do,” Ms. Davis told the board.

Mr. Harris answered that, “if they want to raise the money, that’s what we want to do.”

Asked for a “rough estimate” of costs by Commissioner Karson Turner, Mr. Harris responded that he’d heard one of $8,000. “Well what are we discussing it for?” answered Mr. Turner. “It’s $8,000! It’s chimes! It’s going to be the fair (soon); it’s going to be awesome!”

Mr. Harris remarked calmly: “We’re trying to get somebody else to pay for it. I think the city wants to go 5K, and then we’ve got some other people who want to give, then maybe … we can fill in the blank.”

“What’s the ‘Darrell Harris Foundation’ going to give?” Mr. Turner poked, and Commissioner Harris hastily parried, with a smile: “I’m going to give some. Me and you.”

“I’ll match what Commissioner Harris gives,” he replied laughingly.

Unable to resist, Commissioner Mike Swindle threw in, “That won’t take long!”

Administrator Davis ended the shenanigans with a sober reminder: “So you would want to think about, and especially for the folks at the courthouse, how frequent you want the chimes to occur…”

To which the room erupted in laughter. Just then, the video recording cut off, conveniently, so whether there’ll be a ringing battle over clock chimes remains to be heard.

Caloosa Belle reporter/editor Chris Felker can be reached at

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