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City agrees on site for new courthouse

Council sets aside more than three acres, moving quickly to secure $50 million bond

Posted: March 26, 2009 12:57 a.m.
Updated: March 26, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The Santa Clarita City Council agreed to set aside 3 1/2 acres on Golden Valley Road for a new courthouse and explore the possibility of forming a Santa Clarita Judicial District.

The decades-old courthouse at the corner of Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway is in need of upgrades, and $50 million of state-bond money has been set aside for a replacement.

"Something has to happen. This is just a piece of the puzzle," City Councilwoman Laurene Weste said Wednesday. "We certainly need a courthouse facility."

The possible site in question is near county Fire Station 104 and the Santa Clarita Activities Center.

Tuesday night's council decision accomplished three things:

n Donated the roughly 3 1/2 acres for the potential project

n Gave city staff the go-ahead to explore the creation of a Santa Clarita Judicial District

n Created an ad-hoc committee and appointed Mayor Frank Ferry and Councilman Bob Kellar

A $5 billion state bond approved last year is putting money toward the renovation or replacement of 41 courthouses statewide. Of that, $50 million is set aside for Santa Clarita.

City representatives have already met with officials including county District Attorney Steve Cooley and county Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Ferry said, and added he wants to keep up the momentum.

"If we don't keep these people motivated," he said Wednesday, "we could end up losing that money."

Santa Clarita and Glendale were among four locations classified in the immediate-need category.

But the city must show initiative to keep its spot on the list, Community Development Director Paul Brotzman said last week.

"There are plenty of other cities standing in line," he said March 19, adding it's too early to tell how much a new courthouse might cost.

City officials have said they would prefer to see a new courthouse as part of a new or expanded civic center.

In recent years, there has been discussion about tying a civic center project with the expansion of Westfield Valencia Town Center.

Given the present state of the economy, Ferry said the feasibility of a project such as that could be a ways off.

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