Mesa divided over where to put court building - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

Mesa divided over where to put court building

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Posted: Friday, July 28, 2006 10:55 am | Updated: 3:21 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Main Street or First Avenue? Those are the two potential locations for the future Mesa City Court building. But so far, residents, employees and even consultants remain divided on the issue.

Some city employees are pushing for the new $32 million project to be built on the northwest corner of Pomeroy and First Avenue. But members of the City Court staff said the new building would have a better civic presence if it’s on the southeast corner of Hibbert and Main Street. Both city-owned properties are separated by a parking garage.

So far, support seems heaviest for the First Avenue site. The Downtown Development Committee, an advisory board, voted unanimously Thursday to endorse the First Avenue location. That vote concurs with the opinions of City Manager Chris Brady and departments and agencies such as Development Services, Economic Services and the Downtown Mesa Association

Two consultants hired by the city to study the sites were split on which site was better.

Tom Verploegen, president of the Downtown Mesa Association, said he thinks the court building should go on First Avenue because the Main Street site is better suited for private development. He said millions of dollars have been spent on a streetscape project along Main to draw people and businesses downtown.

“You get more bang for your buck,” he said.

But Presiding Judge Matt Tafoya thinks Main Street is a better fit.

“The court building is the core and the beacon of light in the community,” he said. “It’s where people come for justice.”

The city paid $10,000 to hire the two site-selection consultants.

Elliot D. Pollack & Co. recommended the First Avenue site to open up the Main Street site for private development, while RNL/KMD Architects recommended Main Street.

The new courthouse is expected to open by late 2009, Tafoya said. The Mesa Police Department will take over the current court building at 245 W. Second St.

Tafoya said the City Council is expected to provide direction on selecting a site during a study session Aug. 10.

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