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Courthouse shoes are dropping in February

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 by Caleb Pritchard

The suspense is nearing its end! Next week, the Travis County Commissioners Court will discuss potential proposals to “leverage” 308 Guadalupe St., the highly coveted downtown parking lot that came within a few thousand votes of being a new civil and family courts complex. To set the stage, staff presented to the court on Tuesday what County Judge Sarah Eckhardt called a “larger overview of our court capacity needs” both now and in the future. The briefing was a rehash of details that have been bedeviling the county for years: an aging, overcrowded civil courthouse, demand for both new criminal judges and civil judges, a growing population and an incredibly valuable piece of downtown land that voters indicated would be better off in private hands. Eckhardt pointed out that the county bought 308 Guadalupe St. in 2010 when the economy was still gasping from the Great Recession and that the land has only gotten more valuable since then. “So we did not lose money for the Travis County taxpayer. In fact, curiously, we have made money through the holding of this property,” Eckhardt said. The discussion of that property won’t be the only major step forward this month in the county’s quest for a new civil courthouse. On Feb. 21, the court will also discuss options for properties that could be the next potential site of the project.

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