Midland City Council Exploring Options for New Municipal Court

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND--There are pros and cons to sprucing up a decades-old, downtown building.

The Tall City is actually investing $1.5 million into this project.   Even though all three options have their merit, the first $60,000 will help them decide which one is the best.

"The study is going to help determine that and kind of, give the Council some direction on which way we go," Municipal Court Judge, Robin D. Smith, said.

The Municipal Court opened it's doors in 1982.   Now, the Midland City Council is trying to decide what to do about the municipal court building.

"We're coming up on about 30 years at this particular facility.  It's probably a good measure, 30 years is probably a good measure for a courthouse," Judge Smith explained.

Smith says, the study will consider three options, "One would be to expand this building, make it larger.  Another would be to build from the ground up.  A third would be to move into an existing building. At the present time, we're going to take a look at the Midland County Courthouse building."

All are very good options, but not without their drawbacks.   For example, according to Judge Smith, expanding and building from scratch have something in common, "We're kind of land locked here, so that would probably require some street closures and that kind of thing.  So, that makes it a little more difficult."

Moving in to the County Courthouse sounds ideal, but according to the Judge, "Just because there's courtrooms and clerks offices, doesn't necessarily mean we can just move into that building.  There would be quite a bit of refit costs to go in and make it usable for the court."

City officials want to make sure they make the right decision.

"That's why we're going to thoroughly study that and give the citizens the best option," Smith said.

Judge Smith goes on to say, they hope to have the study finished in time to present it to the City Council before they approve the city budget in 2010.  Then, the Council can decide how they want to proceed.