The Otoe County Courthouse may have a new statue on the lawn in the middle of 2020.
A group of Nebraska City residents is organizing an effort to bring a statue of J. Sterling Morton currently in the U.S. Capitol back home to Nebraska City.
The Otoe County Board of Commissioners approved a plan to place the statue on the east side of the courthouse in mid-2020 at the board’s Dec. 23 meeting.
The statue committee has until Dec. 31 to submit a proposal  to bring Morton to Nebraska City to the Willa Cather National Statuary Hall Selection Committee.
A statue of Cather is scheduled to replace the Morton statue in the Capitol during the summer of 2020.
Part of the proposal will include funding for transportation and rigging costs to bring the statue from Washington, D.C., to Otoe County.
Pam Frana, chair of the J. Sterling Morton Statue Committee, said those costs are estimated at $5,000, based on the costs incurred while transporting a statue of Chief Standing Bear to Washington, D.C., earlier this year and bringing back a statue of Williams Jennings Bryan that is now on display in Seward.
Frana said the group has already received $2,550 in pledges and donations.
She said the group’s 2020 plans include possibly hosting a Penny Drive in Nebraska City schools and applying to  community foundations for additional funds for the project.
The proposed location of the statue will require some redesign of the east side of the courthouse, which may be a necessity someday, according to Board Chair Jerad Sornson.
He said that future plans may call for the handicapped entrance on the west side of the courthouse to be closed, so the east entrance on the ground floor of the building would need to be handicapped accessible.
Commissioner Jim Thurman encouraged the committee to apply for keno funds from the board in 2020.
In other matters, the board
Approved the Lessman Subdivision plat, an approximately 5-acre tract located at 3226 D Rd.;
Approved the J. and A. Rohlfs Subdivision plat, an approximately 7.02-acre tract at 2268 K Rd.; and
Approved an agreement with the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts to perform annual audits for 2020, 2021, and 2022 at a cost of $14,000 per year.
The next regular Otoe County Board of Commissioners meeting is set for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020.