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City Council pares courthouse options
The Fredericksburg City Council narrowed the courthouse proposals from five to three.

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Date published: 6/15/2011

By Robyn Sidersky

The Fredericksburg City Council narrowed the courthouse proposals from five to three last night, with no explanation.

The three remaining proposals are from W.M. Jordan, First Choice and Donley's.

Because the decision took place during a closed session, city officials refused to discuss details.

The $32.6 million proposal from W.M. Jordan would put the Circuit Court in a three-story building on the site of the existing Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

The General District Court and Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court would be in a three-story building on the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets.

It would take about 36 months to complete. The plan also includes renovating the Renwick building, which is the current home of the Circuit Court.

The $36 million proposal from First Choice would also put the three courts into two buildings. The current site of the General District Court on Princess Anne Street would be renovated to house the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

A new building would be constructed at the corner of Princess Anne and Charlotte streets to house the Circuit Court and General District Court.

The two buildings would be connected by a tunnel. It would take 30 months to complete.

The $34 million proposal from Donley's would put the courthouse at the site of the fire station, at Princess Anne and Wolfe streets.

The four-story building would have all three courts together.

The project would take about 44 months to complete.

The next step is for the city to ask for more detailed plans from each of the developers, City Manager Beverly Cameron said.

That includes refinement of the design and detailed pricing.

They would all also have to answer specific questions from city staff and members of the City Council.

Discussions would take place both in work sessions and closed meetings, he said.

The only member of council to vote against the three options was Fred Howe III.

"At this point I can't support the largest capital project in the history of the city when there is no ability to pay and the assumption is that taxpayers can carry the burden in these tough, terrible economic times," he said.

The next time the City Council is scheduled to meet is on June 28, when it will hold a work session at 5:30 p.m. followed by a regular meeting at 7:30 p.m. City officials haven't said whether courthouse proposals will be discussed then.

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413
Email: rsidersky@freelancestar.com