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DAA opposes Eighth Street location for downtown court

Tuesday, February 15, 2022 by Jo Clifton

On Thursday, City Council is set to approve $27 million for renovations to the old city hall at 124 W. Eighth St. to ready the building to become the permanent home for the Downtown Austin Community Court. Council will also consider using the design/build method of contracting for the renovations. The Downtown Austin Alliance objects to that site and District 9 Council Member Kathie Tovo convinced her colleagues to postpone the decisions when they were on the Jan. 27 agenda. Dewitt Peart, CEO of the DAA, wrote to mayor and Council on Monday asking them not to move forward with the plan to house the court at that location. Peart says, “There has been no community engagement to determine the most appropriate use” for that building and no public process for deciding where to put the court. The DAA chief points out a resolution passed by Council in May 2020 “designating this property as a possible future cultural use site.” City staffers told Council in November that they had considered 22 different downtown sites for the court, which generally hears cases related to the homeless. The court is currently in a temporary location at One Texas Center.

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