The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

April 16, 2014

County Commission: Temporary courthouse renovations nearly complete

Farmers Market to reopen May 6

— The 39th Judicial Court could be moving to the former Better Living building within the next few weeks, said County Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee.

After today’s work session, Menefee said the temporary courthouse at 503 South Jefferson Street received a city inspection April 11 and will be inspected again this week.

“It was a checklist inspection last Friday, just checking what was working and not working,” he said. “There were some minor improvements that needed to be made, and I anticipate everything will be ready to go for the next inspection.”

The chairman said he could receive a letter of occupancy by Friday, allowing the four judges based at the Limestone County Courthouse to make concrete moving plans.

Menefee said a moving date for the courts will not be finalized until he confers with Circuit Judge Jimmy Woodroof and the 12,000-square-foot building gets final approval from the city inspector.

Downtown courthouse

The county intends to resume its estimated $3 million project to revamp the interior of the historic downtown courthouse by this summer after initial work was halted to locate temporary quarters and decide whether to install a new elevator that would have required removing a marble staircase.

Menefee previously said the new plan does not require removing the staircase since the work was scaled down to remove the need to revamp the fourth floor.

On Wednesday, he predicted there will be a month-long lapse between when the judges move and the bid process begins, giving contractors time to look over the courthouse and prepare their bids.

Farmers Market

County officials announced Wednesday the Farmers Market will reopen Friday, May 6.

The county’s market will operate Tuesdays and Fridays beginning at 6:30 a.m., said County Administrator Pam Ball.

Spirit of Athens, a nonprofit focused on downtown revitalization, opened the market on Saturdays during the spring and summer seasons last year but a 2014 schedule has not been released.

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