Monday, March 28, 2011

Ft. Lauderale federal courthouse described as "worst" by "federal officials"

The Sun-Sentinel has the story of renewed plans to build a new federal courthouse in Broward:

Broward County could get two new courthouses on the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale instead of just one — a potential government investment of at least $500 million. A high-powered task force of federal judges, lawyers and politicians has revived a dormant proposal to build a new federal courthouse. They have their eyes on Broward County's waterfront land for a federal-county court campus next to the riverfront jail. Broward County commissioners voted last year to build a $328 million county courthouse on the existing county court site, south of the river, just west of Third Avenue. The new federal courthouse would go somewhere nearby, on that same block of county land.


Federal officials decided years ago to replace the existing federal courthouse, which sits on Broward Boulevard, abutting Third Avenue. Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, federal buildings must have safety buffers at least 100 feet wide — a requirement the existing courthouse doesn't meet. It's also woefully small, officials complain, and was described by federal officials on a recent visit as "the worst that they have encountered,'' according to a March 15 task force memo written by Scherer. Fort Lauderdale "has moved to the 8th position on a list of 100 communities needing a new federal courthouse,'' Scherer's memo said. That would put it in line for possible funding in the 2016-2018 timeframe, unless it can be bumped up, as the task force hopes. The group also believes building a joint project could reduce costs, with both courthouses benefiting from the same security and roadway work.


C.L.J. said...

That 100 foot buffer would make sense had it been adopted after the Oklahoma City bombing, where such a buffer would have been effective.

In the case of an airliner used as a missile (as was the case on 9/11/2001), the 100 feet would only give the plane a few more seconds to build up momentum.

Anonymous said...

That courthouse is almost always empty. This is about ego and nothing else.

A total waste of taxpayer money so that a handful of federal judges can take pride in their digs.

Just goes to show you that it is not the federal judgeship that carries the political power - it is the politically powerful (with very few exceptions) that get appointed to the federal bench.

Anonymous said...

The set-back requirement was established after the incident at Oklahoma City. The existing building is a poor use of space considering the size of the building footprint.

A new building would lend itself to better use of space and could include the latest renewable energy sources that are abundant in south Florida. (wind / solar)

Anonymous said...

Complete waste of money. Everyone knows there isn't enough work and judges in Ft. Lauderdale to justify a new courthouse.