Rather than wait for the statewide judicial branch to acquire courthouse construction funds, a group of people interested in keeping the Nevada County Courthouse in downtown Nevada City are pushing to fund the first step in the prospective renovation.
The effort comes just a few months after the Judicial Council, the administrative body of the statewide court system, voted to indefinitely postpone any renovation or rebuild of the Nevada County Courthouse. The project was initially budgeted at around $108 million to rebuild the 148-year-old facility and not necessarily in downtown Nevada City.
In 2009, the AOC determined that the courthouse is “unsafe, substandard, overcrowded and functionally deficient.” Plans to alleviate that problem varied from a simple renovation to a relocation, the latter of which scared many in Nevada City, including the town’s government, which argued that loss of the courthouse would have a devastating impact on the downtown economy.
But as the state’s courts dealt with the loss of more than $5 billion in funding originally planned for statewide courthouse construction projects that was instead borrowed, swept to the state’s general fund or redirected to court operations since 2009, the list of court construction projects was whittled down.
Instead of waiting for the courts as they fight the state for funding, members of Nevada City Courthouse Committee and allies are working toward getting an initial feasibility study funded to have it completed and ready for the state courts to review should funds ever become available.
“We are working with the architect firm the state has used for other projects,” said Nevada City Manager David Brennan. “We are satisfied with an acceptable firm to do a cost engineering study.”
A representative of the Administrative Office already attended a recent meeting with the Nevada City Courthouse Committee this week, and “they were very interested in seeing the study completed,” Brennan told The Union.
“We think that is an important representation of their support,” he told the Nevada City Council at its Wednesday meeting.
The details are still being cemented, but Brennan said the council will likely be asked to weigh in on the prospect at its May 8 meeting.
“By completing the study, we will be in a better position when funding becomes available to the judicial council,” Brennan said. “We are going to be competing with everyone else, and we think this might put us one step ahead.”
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4236.