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County starts application for new old court space

Wednesday, June 8, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

Travis County Commissioners Court voted on Tuesday to formally start the process of trying to acquire the historic U.S. Courthouse in downtown Austin. The court voted after coming out of executive session to direct County Judge Sarah Eckhardt to submit a letter to the federal General Services Administration expressing the county’s interest in taking over the building as the new home of the County Probate Court. The GSA has deemed the property as surplus. Under a federal program, local governments or homeless support groups can apply to take over surplus buildings at no upfront cost. The winning applicant will be stuck with maintenance and renovation costs, which are expected to be high at the 80-year-old courthouse. County Strategic Planning Manager Belinda Powell told the Austin Monitor that the application process could be lengthy and added that she expects a decision from the GSA by the end of 2016. The vote to send the letter was 3-0-1, with Commissioner Ron Davis abstaining and Commissioner Gerald Daugherty off the dais.

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