Contributor Opinion by Mary Ellen Flynn: Time for the New District Courthouse to be Built at the Old Library Site
I respect that you, your friends and colleagues have a different viewpoint from the one shared by me, the entire Montgomery County Delegation of Legislators, the County Executive, all of the Courthouse Elected officials, and many public officials and County residents on the subject of the location of the new Rockville District Courthouse at the old Library site. We who support the construction at the old Library site remain steadfast in our position, as it is firmly based on facts relating to location, cost, and positive benefits to be gained for the entire County and State.
The old Library site is directly across the street from the current District Courthouse building, so infrastructure already exists for the placement of the Courthouse at that location. The site’s proximity to the Circuit Court, State’s Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office and other County agencies associated with the everyday legal business conducted in our County Seat would facilitate efficiency, not only for lawyers, judges and other public officials, but for the County’s citizens who conduct business in this judicial quadrant on a daily basis. With public parking already located nearby (some even on the same side of the street as the old Library site) and easy access to both Circuit Court and many court-related agencies within a convenient two-block area, efficiency would result. It is anticipated that shorter, less confusing travel among the courthouses and other judicial agencies would occur if the Circuit and District Courts were located within a centralized area rather than being separated and on opposite sides of the expansive Town Center.
As is well-documented, a great deal of taxpayer money has been authorized and already spent on purchasing and designating the old Library site as the location for the new District Courthouse. Additionally, architectural designs specific to that site have been ordered, prepared and paid for. These plans are now only waiting for State funding. At a time when fiscal prudence is on the minds of all County and State taxpayers and no overabundance of funds exists in any of the governmental coffers, the scrapping of completed architectural plans on which significant money has already been spent, the incurring of millions of dollars solely due to construction delays, and the risk of diverting $71 Million of State funding away from this much-needed courthouse are unacceptable to most County residents.
Although it is understood that at the outset any new construction will not be without concerns and opinions on both sides, the concerns and opinions on construction at the old Library site have been voiced and addressed as completely as is practicable. Now, with the positive benefits of the old Library site far outweighing the few negatives, it is time for the new District Courthouse to be built at the old Library site, so that the judicial, commercial and residential sectors of our County Seat can once-again operate as effectively and efficiently as possible and thrive.
Mary Ellen Flynn, President
Bar Association of Montgomery County, MD