Officials Call for New Hidalgo County Courthouse

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POSTED: Monday, January 10, 2011 - 5:09pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - 9:46am

EDINBURG - If you have been down to the Hidalgo County Courthouse in Edinburg lately, you've seen that the building can get packed with people quickly.

With Hidalgo County being one of the most populous counties in Texas, county officials and the city of Edinburg are starting to talk about what needs to be done to the expensive old building.

"It requires a tremendous amount of maintenance. The cost to maintain is almost the cost of a monthly, annual payment of the courthouse on a note," said Ramon Garcia, Hidalgo County Judge.

And even though nothing is official at this time, officials said adding to the existing building is out of the question.

"If we do something it will be a new building. That facility is too old, and it probably is more expensive to add to an old, existing structure than to just uh build another one," said Garcia.

The building was originally built in 1954, which makes it 57 years old today. Then, it only had two district courts and one county court. Now, it houses ten district courts and six county courts. And currently there are two additional county courts that have been approved, but because of the limited space within the building, there is no where to put them.

"Presently the City of Edinburg is very interested in trying to work out something with the county. They have come forth with a, what they call a downtown revitalization plan which includes the courthouse," said Garcia. "They're going to make a presentation tomorrow morning at the county commissioners court, but more than giving us ideas, they're coming forth and telling us that they'll help us with the infrastructure funds."

The Edinburg Downtown Revitalization Plan estimates a new courthouse, if built at about 20,000 square-feet, could cost about $75 million. But before any moves are made to the possible new courthouse, the City of Edinburg City Manager says they need to deal with drainage problems and city infrastructure first.
 

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