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Wake Justice Center project will go forward

Posted October 19, 2009

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— Wake County commissioners on Monday voted unanimously to move forward with plans to build an expansion to the county courthouse, despite the tough economic times.

"We have some challenges with the economy, but because of the low interest rates on bonds, we can justify moving ahead with it," County Commissioner Paul Coble said. "We need to because of the overcrowding we have in the courthouse."

justice center Expanded Wake courthouse will happen

Officials say the 11-story, estimated $210 million Wake County Justice Center is needed to help keep pace with the rapid population growth and will also help meet growing safety needs.

The current courthouse, which sits between Salisbury and Fayetteville streets in downtown Raleigh, has 22 courtrooms to handle more than 200,000 cases filed every year and the approximately 5,000 people who use the facility on a daily basis.

The new facility, would sit across the street at the intersections of Martin, McDowell and Salisbury streets, will house more facilities and serve the county's needs for the next 30 to 50 years, officials said. Construction could be complete as early as 2013.

Some commissioners, however, did express concern over construction for the facility.

"I think we have to be very careful in spending taxpayers' dollars for wants when we are in the middle of the worst economic downturn in 30 years," Commissioner Stan Norwalk said.

Norwalk acknowledges the courthouse need but doesn't think the other county offices in the building are necessary on such expensive real estate.

"We have no choice, at this point, but to go ahead," he said. "What I'm saying is that I want a long-range plan that will tell us in the future how we can reduce our total capital needs."

Coble said the space is needed and that the plan won't result in a tax increase.

"We can certainly do it with the financial model that we have in place," Coble said.

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  • dbcooper41 Oct 20, 2009

    just another give away to the contruction industry.
    and didn't they just do a fancy rennovation of the existing courtrooms? i seem to recall a well connected woodworking beer brewing politician wannabe got a sweet contract to replace fancy trimwork. now there's a pressing public safety need!!

  • whatelseisnew Oct 20, 2009

    "It's common sense."

    Wrong, we can not keep having politicians loading us up with debt. I don't care if people have to wait. They should quit whining. We are paying far too much each year for county debt load because people stupidly passed the bond issues. With the current interest alone they could pay for a lot of this construction. A couple years worth of that interest and they could pay cash to build this center.

  • town guy Oct 20, 2009

    Is this the same group of commisioners who can't seem to find money to build schools? $200M would get us about 5 middle schools. Shame on Paul Coble!

  • lkanzig Oct 19, 2009

    why is the bs alarm going off?
    oh because this story is full of it just like the crooked politicians!

  • RandolphBloke Oct 19, 2009

    Half the people that will likely complain about this would also complain if they had to wait because of backlogged cases should they have to show for anything. This IS a good time to invest in something like this. It's planning for the future, taking into account low interest rates, and puts people to work during the construction. That money will feed back into the local economy. It's common sense.

  • whatelseisnew Oct 19, 2009

    Why do they always lie and say a tax increase will not happen. Of course a tax increase will happen, they will just associate it with other reasons. So they put us deeper in debt during a recession. Nice job.

  • tmedlin Oct 19, 2009

    this is a crock...I've been in there several times in the last few months and there are courtrooms sitting empty!
    STOP wasting my money!