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Eckhardt pitches AISD on property deal

Friday, May 8, 2015 by Courtney Griffin

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt paid the Austin Independent School District board of trustees a visit Monday night. Eckhardt briefed the trustees on the county’s developing Civil and Family Courthouse at the board’s Dialogue meeting to see if AISD was interested in jointly occupying the space. The 520,000-square-foot courthouse is part of the Travis County Master Plan and will be located between Third and Fourth streets, bounded by San Antonio and Guadalupe streets. Eckhardt said the county is talking with several governmental entities to explore joint habitation possibilities on the property. The preliminary plan is for the county to occupy the courthouse on half of the block and solicit private developers to build separate, additional office space on the other half. The extra space would be rented out to public or private entities — generating tax revenue — until the county needs it in about 40 years, Eckhardt said. Board President Gina Hinojosa asked about furthering legal, educational programs in the space, and seeking more county involvement and judicial prevention services for AISD students. Other trustees expressed interest in deepening collaboration on how to better use government-owned land, not only for this project, but for future affordable housing.


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