City extends federal courthouse construction deadline

Council also approves road abandonment

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Greenville City Council members on Monday agreed to extend the performance time for the construction of a new federal courthouse by three years.

The city passed an ordinance in October 2013 abandoning nearly 11,000 square feet of North Irvine Street between East Coffee and East North streets contingent upon construction starting within 36 months.

While Congress has passed an appropriations bill that funds several courthouse projects, including the one in Greenville, construction is not expected to begin before the deadline. The General Services Administration is awaiting Congress’ approval on the final spending plan before it proceeds.

The original ordinance called for the North Irvine Street property to revert back to the city if construction didn’t begin before Oct. 14, 2016. The new resolution extends that deadline to May 9, 2019.

The new courthouse will contain seven courtrooms and nine chambers to accommodate nine judges. Other court-related tenants include U.S. Probation office, a federal public defender and U.S. Department of Justice agencies.

When the new courthouse is complete, the Haynsworth Federal Building will be used by the Court of Appeals and Bankruptcy Court as well as other federal agencies that currently lease space elsewhere.

The GSA earmarked nearly $94 million for the project in the latest appropriation. It had earmarked another $11 million for the project in 2004. The federal government purchased the 2.4-acre site in 2013.

Annexation

 

The City Council gave final approval to the annexation of 10.81 acres adjacent to Airport Road, Transit Drive and Jimmy Doolittle Drive and initial approval to the abandonment of a portion of Jimmy Doolittle Drive.

Central Realty Holdings plans to develop flex and office space with an industrial use on the property, which is near the end of the runway of the Greenville Downtown Airport.

Proposed abandonment

 

Some property owners expressed concern over a proposal to abandon an unnamed alley located between North Main and Water streets during a public hearing held during Monday’s Council meeting.

Nicholas Kelly, the property owner who requested the abandonment, said it would allow for continued maintenance of the alley. But some of the other property owners expressed concern that they would lose access to the back of their properties and that they’d have to pay property taxes on the land.

No action was taken.

Law enforcement equipment

 

Police Chief Ken Miller received initial approval to spend $220,000 from the department’s special revenue fund and Department of Homeland Security account to buy software that will help with incident management, analyze data and upgrade the municipal court security system.

Conservation Fund

 

Council approved the distribution of $12,500 from the Greenville Zoo Conservation Fund to nine local and international conservation programs. In 2010, 25 cents was added to the zoo admissions fee and $3 to membership fees to fund the Conservation Fund.

Local groups receiving money were the Wade Hampton Water Monitoring Team from Wade Hampton High School and the Fine Arts Center, which received $800. Anderson University’s Ivy Wilson and Dr. Joni Criswell received $850 for an amphibian survey of Anderson University’s wetlands. Dr. Travis Perry received $1,000 for the Furman University cougar project.

Other groups receiving funds were the Georgia Sea Turtle Center for research on the eastern diamondback rattlesnake, the Tropical Research and Conservation Center for sea turtle research, Zoo Atlanta for a project involving the Panamanian golden frog and Northern Illinois University for lemur research.

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