Judicial Center saga

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By Jessica Singleton

The judicial center site has been narrowed down to two.

The project development board anticipated making a final decision at their Monday meeting. However, a delay in the appraisals has pushed that decision to Friday at 1 p.m.

The board members will pick between a downtown property that currently includes Full Service Auto and Meeting the Needs Mission, and several acres of land on Hwy. 127 owned by a Ford family trust.

Tod Ott from the CMW architecture firm presented a report on all the properties that were considered. According to the report, the downtown property is about five acres and has road access from Hwy. 127 and Madison Street. Judge-Executive Billy O’Banion said if this site is chosen, improvements will be made to Madison Street to connect the courthouse to the new judicial center.

Full Service Auto had a phase one environmental report conducted and the report issued a clean bill of health.

The main advantage to this downtown site is the easy access to the current courthouse.

The other site being considered is the land owned by the Ford family trust. The report stated that this land is part of a 143-acre farm. The project development board is looking at the five acres of this farm that are closest to downtown. This site also has road access on Hwy. 127.

The site is one-fifth of a mile from the existing courthouse. The report said the property is next to a business district and near municipal buildings.

Both sites have access to basic utilities.

The board has requested a geotechnical survey of both properties to confirm that they are suitable sites.

Garland VanHook is the Director of the Kentukcy State Administrative Office of the Courts. The board will send their choice of sites to his office for final approval.

VanHook said his office is working with 36 similar construction projects throughout the state.

“We will continue to be open and transparent through this process,” he said.

He said the minutes of all the board meeting will be posted on-line. They will also post the budget so the public can follow where the funds are going.

He said that all the projects are being monitored by the state and will go through the state audit process.

This long process of site selection should come to an end on Friday when the appraisals are complete.