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Fredericksburg's City Council is met with mixed reactions from public about courthouse proposals.
Fredericksburg resident Rob Tanner makes comments about the design proposals.
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Date published: 5/18/2011
Fredericksburg's City Council heard a variety of opinions regarding a new courthouse for the city at last night's public hearing.
About 60 people turned out to listen to brief presentations on each of the proposals, and about a quarter of them expressed their opinions.
City Manager Beverly Cameron told the crowd the history of the courthouse project and went through each of the eight proposals for new court facilities.
Commonwealth's Attorney LaBravia Jenkins told the council not to forget her office when making a decision.
"I'm asking council without advocating for any one project to please consider the commonwealth attorney's office as a necessary part of the new court facility," she said.
She pointed out that only two of the proposals include her office.
Her office is on Prince Edward Street, which she said is an inconvenience because it's not near the courts and attorneys have issues with parking and physically carrying files when they need to go to court.
Mark Gardner, representing the Fredericksburg Area Bar Association, submitted a resolution adopted last month that requests the city build a new circuit courthouse.
The resolution says the current circuit court is "inadequate for the security of the patrons, bailiffs, employees and other individuals utilizing it."
Caroline Street resident Linda Retterer made a plea to the council that others echoed.
"I'd like to ask council to spend our tax money as if it were their own," she said.
Rob Tanner, who said he has 34 years of experience in architectural engineering and building concept design, said that while all the design teams are reputable, he was concerned about three issues that he felt weren't addressed: space, technology and sustainability.
He did, however, tell the council that the teams should be respected for providing free information. If one of them is not hired, the city should apologize, he said.
Former City Councilman Joe Wilson asked the council to take a regional approach to the courthouse problem and told members they are rushing into a decision.
"You've charged down the road to building a new courthouse, and it's premature," he said.
Caroline Street resident Steve Dlugos told the council he wants more options and more information presented before a decision is made.