SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Commissioners Court began what Judge Moran is calling a “long process” of trying to pick a site for the new county courthouse, set to go up later this decade.
Judge Moran said after looking at surveys, there are needs the courthouse doesn’t currently meet. Issues including plumbing, security, and space for all courtrooms are of top concern.
Moran featured a map during several meetings throughout the county that features four potential locations where the new courthouse could be built.
Those meetings gave Commissioners a chance to learn what plans the county has and hear public input about potential sites.
“What we’eve heard from the citizens is excitement about the project,” said Moran. “That 20 years ago the need was identified, 10 years ago it was reaffirmed that we needed to build a new courthouse.”
Rating what factors are most important they are as follows:
- Safety and security
- Aesthetics and beauty
- Administration of justice
- Long-term planning for facilities
- Economic revitalization
- Proximity to jail
The current courthouse was built nearly 65 years ago starting with two courtrooms. Now the building has eight courtrooms and a need to expand for the future.
One of the top site locations is to close down Broadway and construct the courthouse adjacent to the current one.
“Overwhelmingly we heard from the public that they want to see a courthouse project that’s on the square or very near to the square that’s traditional looking,” said Moran.
The goal is for a plan to be approved and presented during the November elections that the public can vote on.
“We need to find a way to build for not just today but for our future needs,” said Moran.
A future that people 65 years down the road would not have to worry about.
The following workshop will be held on Tuesday, January 28 during Commissioners’ Court to further discuss the topic.
To learn more about the project, you can visit the Smith County website.