Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Courthouse Could Be Moved from Fernandina Beach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Courthouse Could Be Moved from Fernandina Beach

Article excerpt

FERNANDINA BEACH -- Nassau County Commissioner John Crawford

said yesterday that all county judicial operations could move

permanently from Amelia Island and nearer to a new

administrative building in Yulee.

That contradicts promises commissioners have made to elected

and business officials that, though most county administrative

offices will move to a new complex in Yulee, courthouse

operations would remain in downtown Fernandina Beach.

It also could break an agreement the commissioners made with

Chief Circuit Judge Donald R. Moran nearly two years ago in

which they promised to provide judges with more courtroom space

at the Nassau County Courthouse.

Moran discontinued all civil trials in the county in 1996

because there was not enough space for criminal and civil

proceedings.

During a County Commission meeting at the time, he angrily

accused commissioners of dragging their feet.

Moran lifted the embargo when Crawford and the other

commissioners promised to add on to the courthouse in Fernandina

Beach.

In an administrative order last week, Moran wrote that he had

been told that commissioners had no intention of renovating the

courthouse.

Because of that, he ordered all judicial officials or employees

to stay in their offices instead of moving to a temporary

courthouse in the old American Body Armor building in Yulee.

All personnel in the courthouse were to move to Yulee while a

contractor completed renovation and expansion work at the

historic building on Centre Street in Fernandina Beach.

"The chief judge has every reason to reasonably believe that

the board does not intend to honor its commitment to provide for

the renovation, restoration and expansion of the historic

Courthouse," the judge wrote in an administrative order. …

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