With the state’s judicial branch fighting for funds for ongoing courthouse projects, proponents of retaining the Nevada County Courthouse will seek an unspecified allocation from the Nevada City Council to independently take the first step toward revamping the 140-year-old facility — a project the state indefinitely postponed in January.
Proponents argue that an independent effort to complete an estimated $94,000 feasibility and cost engineering study will make the proposed project more attractive than other statewide projects vying for judicial funds that have diminished in recent years.
Nevada County’s courthouse was one of four out of 30 projects that were “indefinitely delayed” in January, just months after it had been green-lighted for the initial study. At that time, judicial administrators said that Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget raided $550 million from the general fund originally committed in 2007 to Long Beach’s new Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, leaving the courts to find funds for the project just six months or so from when the first bill would be due.
Since the Administrative Office of the Courts first determined Nevada City’s courthouse is “unsafe, substandard, overcrowded and functionally deficient” in 2009, 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 — a process that forced the judicial branch to slowly whittle its project list down.
Amid the trimmings, various Nevada County voices debated whether an all new courthouse was needed, perhaps at another location, or if the current historic building could be renovate or rebuilt altogether. Nevada City’s government has advocated for site retention, citing the judicial function there as vital to the vitality of the historic downtown area.
Council will consider this item, as well as others, at its May 8 meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m. at Nevada City Hall, located at 317 Broad St.
For more on the story, check back with The Union online or read Saturday’s print edition.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email email@example.com or call (530) 477-4236.