Proposal unveiled for a new city courthouse

Project would include renovating existing two facilities

May 11, 2011|By Edward Gunts, The Baltimore Sun

A new municipal courthouse would be built on downtown Baltimore's east side as part of a roughly $600 million plan to modernize and expand the city's Circuit Court campus, if public officials can find the money to carry out the project.

The renovation of the city's two existing courthouses — the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse and Courthouse East — would also be part of the project, which is expected to take six to eight years to complete.

Plans for the three-part project were presented Wednesday to members of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, a group affiliated with Baltimore's Circuit Court system.

The presentation marked the end of a two-year process that began when the city asked the Maryland Stadium Authority to conduct a feasibility study. The courthouse projects have been discussed for more than a decade.

One key recommendation in the study was the identification of a parcel north of Courthouse East as the preferred location for a new courthouse. The land is bounded roughly by Lexington, Davis and Saratoga streets and Guilford Avenue.

According to the study, the new courthouse would be for criminal proceedings. Courthouse East would be renovated for civil proceedings, while the circa-1900 Mitchell building would house juvenile and family courts after restoration. Courthouse East also would be renovated to house the Orphans Court, the Register of Wills and jury assembly.

Baltimore Circuit Court Administrative Judge Marcella A. Holland, who coordinated the study on behalf of the judiciary, said at the meeting Wednesday that the report provides a blueprint for improving outmoded court facilities for the next 20 years or more. She said the next steps will include developing an implementation plan and determining how the work can be funded.

The full report is posted on the Maryland Stadium Authority's website at http://www.mdstad.com.

ed.gunts@baltsun.com

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