Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Courthouse Overflows to Annex Crowding Poses Problem for City

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Courthouse Overflows to Annex Crowding Poses Problem for City

Article excerpt

A mini-move by the State Attorney's Office has put about 50 new

government workers into Jacksonville's old City Hall building,

freeing needed room for those who remain at the county

courthouse.

"We were absolutely out of space in the courthouse," said Kathy

Weintraub, office manager for State Attorney Harry Shorstein.

"We had additional attorneys starting and no place for them."

In late August, courthouse workers handling misdemeanors

started moving into the city building, now known as the City

Hall Annex, on Bay Street.

They took over the 10th floor and part of the 11th floor of

the annex, next door to the courthouse.

While good news for Shorstein's office, the move doesn't help

the city get closer to its long-term plans for the annex. City

officials repeatedly have said they want to get government off

the riverfront and replace it with tax-generating private

businesses.

They took one step toward that goal in January, when most city

government operations moved to the new City Hall at 117 W. Duval

St. But finding an appropriate buyer for the annex has proven

difficult.

"It is complicated," said Paul Krutko, executive director of

the Downtown Development Authority. "It has to be factored into

what we're doing with the overall courthouse and the whole mix

of justice facilities we have down here."

To address the long-term needs of the county courthouse, Krutko

said, the city has formed a task force chaired by Lex Hester,

Mayor John Delaney's chief administrative officer.

City Councilman Terry Wood also noted next year's budget

includes $200,000 for a comprehensive study of courthouse needs

and how those might include the annex. One idea is to put an

enclosed bridge over the street between the two buildings and

create office space there. …

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