A divided Dubuque County Board of Supervisors has approved a contract to study potential improvements to the county courthouse parking lot and Old Jail.

Supervisors Jay Wickham and Dave Baker voted recently to sign a $24,500 contract with RDG Planning & Design to draft a concept plan for improvements to the site. Upgrades could include off-street, handicapped-accessible parking options for the county Veterans Affairs office and the addition of a public green space outside the courthouse.

Supervisor Ann McDonough voted against it, saying she did not believe justification exists to prioritize that project over other county needs. She said she had heard from citizens who also questioned the need for the effort.

Baker said he also was contacted with questions from citizens, but he said after explaining the need for parking, those citizens agreed with the project.

Right now, parking for disabled people is metered on the street outside the office’s entrance. Baker said during the winter, those spots can become inaccessible. He said an off-street option would be better.

Wickham said supervisors have spent millions of dollars in recent years to renovate the courthouse, and he believes more work is needed to improve the exterior property.