Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Justice Center on the way!


What a beautiful building.

Roughly 2-3 years away!

Justice center moves one step forward


The Comal County Justice Center got an official nod from the New Braunfels City Council Monday night, and is now on the way to becoming a reality.

The council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement between the city and the county setting aside mandatory parking requirements before construction can begin on the three-story, 90,000 square-foot justice center.

The county had requested construction of a multi-story parking garage be waived for a period of five years dating from the completion of the center, allowing them to move ahead with construction. The council amended the agreement to require construction of the garage within four years.

The city agreed to the waiver after sheriffs deputies and county officials, including Judge Danny Scheel and Comal County Engineer Tom Hornseth, stressed the inadequate security situation at the current courthouse.

“The primary focus here is to provide security for the folks who work in what is basically a high-risk environment,” said Hornseth. “With the way the buildings are configured right now, we can’t provide them with that level of security. The plan is to get them in one, highly secure building.”

The pleas did not fall on deaf ears.

“I think the need for this is really clear, and I’m convinced of the need for it,” said Kathleen Krueger, mayor pro-tem.

Under the agreement, the county will be allowed to postpone construction of the parking garage in exchange for depositing just over $2 million into a “county facility parking fund” at the same time it receives the initial construction funds for the justice center. If the garage is not built within the allotted four years, the fund will be dedicated to the construction of the required 203 parking spaces.

“We got the go-ahead tonight and we’re very pleased,” Scheel said. “Hopefully we’ll be under construction by January of next year and two years from now we’ll be looking at a brand new justice center.”

With an estimated price cost of $36 million, it will be the largest county-funded construction project in history.

The council was in a generous mood Monday night, also unanimously approving $6.5 million for an improved Landa Park Golf Course and a further $480,693 for final engineering design services for expanding segments two and three of Walnut Avenue.