Peyton Struggles: The Truth about the Courthouse

March 16, 2009 45 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

On March 5th, 89.9 WJCT hosted a call in show with Mayor John Peyton. In this conversation, regarding the design of the Duval County Courthouse, Mayor Peyton gives an answer that leaves a lot to be desired.

Jeff from Mandarin:

"I would like to ask a question about the courthouse, regarding the design of it and why it is taking up almost seven city blocks as opposed to being built vertically like the federal courthouse was for $80 million dollars, which was also built to the standards of the Oklahoma City security adjustments that they made after the [Oklahoma City] bombings."

"The second concern is that the cost long term isn't just the cost of building the city over seven city blocks verse vertically, but the damage to Downtown Jacksonville over the long term.  To take up seven city blocks most of which could be used for other types of development in the private sector or for more beneficial uses."


Mayor Peyton:

"Yeah Jeff, point well taken. First of all, the building is not going to take over seven blocks.  I appreciate you letting me correct that.  The actual building is really only going to sit on two blocks and it will have vertical nature to it.  I think it's eight stories tall.  Its almost as tall as the federal courthouse."

"So you got a design that I think does minimize the footprint and maximize the efficiency.  We do have a large parking structure that sits, I think, on a block or maybe a block and a half across the street.  There will be vacant land when we finish this project around that campus."

"Cause remember we're putting the state attorney in the old federal courthouse which is going to be, actually was the post office then the federal courthouse.  We're going to renovate that.  The public defender is going to be actually in the Ed ball building adjacent.  So we're going to renovate space both in Ed Ball and the old federal courthouse to accommodate the public defender and the state attorney. You really got a whole complex.  You're right it would be ridiculous to tie up seven blocks with one building and that's not going to happen."

The Truth:

Unless moving Monroe Street does not count, the new courthouse building will consume at least four blocks, as opposed to the two Peyton claims.  However, Peyton is correct when he said that the main courthouse building does not take up seven blocks. 

Instead, there are four buildings housing courthouse functions (New Courthouse Building, Ed Ball Building, Old Federal Courthouse, and Garages), that take up a total of seven blocks.  Unfortunately, for Jeff from Mandarin and the Duval County taxpayers, that's the issue that brought the question to light in the first place.



Featured text from Part II - 27 minutes 15 second in.

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