Duval County Courthouse issues still up in air

Published On: Jan 30 2013 04:40:56 PM EST   Updated On: Jan 23 2013 09:29:39 PM EST

Safety concerns and unpaid employees are among the issues still at large for the new building.


City leaders are still trying to iron out some of the long-running issues with the new Duval County Courthouse.

The $350 million courthouse opened last June after delays due to its budget and other issues.

More than six months later, an oversight committee is still trying to get some problems solved. The committee met Wednesday afternoon to discuss the issues.

Among them, the state attorney's office says it will cost $31 million to renovate the old courthouse, where it's office will be housed. About $5 million of that money has already been put into it, and the rest was up for discussion at Wednesday's meeting. It still keeps the project within budget.

It will take two years before the project is complete. And a walkway bridge that would connect that office to the new courthouse is still up for debate. It may not be built for cost reasons.

Another issue is Americans with Disabilities Act compliance. Apparently the doors in the courthouse aren't up to acceptable standards, so officials want to put in automatic doors, which could cost up to $1 million.

"What makes me somewhat frustrated is trying to understand how it got to where it is today," city councilman Bill Bishop said. "This information we got today is the first positive news in a long time that they are doing a very good job getting this thing down to an affordable mode for the money we have left for the project."

The third issued discussed is that many of the subcontractors haven't been paid. Turner Construction says there's about $5 million that must be distributed among those subcontractors, some of whom were there for meeting.

Leo Jacobson, of Dixie Contract Carpet Inc., said the city owes his company $40,000.

"It's a matter of principal. Why should they be holding our money for all this time," Jacobson said. "Plus, the least they can do is offer us to pay us interest on our money."

The city said that type of issue is what the committee is working on.


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