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Council: Maybe we don’t want the Post Office after all…
So it turns out that at least
five six City Council members have now come to the conclusion that the city should stop spending money studying the Post Office site on Princess Anne Street as a courts location. Instead, they want to explore a less expensive option.
They want to build a new Circuit Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court on the property that now houses the JD&R court on Princess Anne Street. (This would involve buying a smaller adjoining property that is between the court and City Hall). The General District Court would remain in its current quarters, with some minor improvements.
If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because it was the option that Moseley Architects originally recommended that the city pursue, based on its needs and financial capabilities, way back in the fall of 2007. (See pages 68-71 of this PDF.) Moseley put an estimate of $33 million on the first phase of what it called the "Princess Anne C" option, but the city will have to study this a lot more closely to really know what it’s likely to cost. It would be a lot cheaper than the more than $54 million estimate council members have seen for the Post Office site, though.
This is a cheaper option, but a shorter-term solution to the overall courts space problem.
"The economy has really gone downhill, and we’re going to have to pass some of these decisions on to future councils," Mayor Tom Tomzak said.
This means that at tomorrow’s meeting, you won’t likely see a continuation of this discussion of how to break the pre-development work on the Post Office site into smaller chunks. You’re more likely to see the council ask the staff to study the cheaper option and to report back accordingly.
Read more about this in Tuesday’s paper.