State OKs railyard as site for courthouse

Published: Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 - 6:17 pm

Efforts to construct a new Sacramento Superior Court building in downtown Sacramento cleared an important hurdle this week when the state Public Works Board approved proceeding with acquisition of the rail yards site.

The city block bounded by H Street on the south, Fifth Street on the west, G Street on the north and Sixth Street on the east was designated in 2011 as the preferred site for a new criminal courthouse. But the project has been in limbo due to tight state budgets. Funds that might have been directed toward construction of new court buildings were needed to help support court operations, said Assembly Roger Dickinson, who noted that he has been a consistent advocate for a new courthouse.

Following the action by the Public Works Board, Dickinson said he expects the state, which runs the Superior Courts, to take title to the property within 45 days.

"We still have a hill to climb to get enough money to finance actual construction of the building," Dickinson said.

He said he hopes construction can begin within the next two years.

The state has determined that the existing Gordon Schaber Courthouse downtown is too small handle the large volume of criminal cases being tried. An approximately 16-story courthouse is planned for the rail yard site, which is about two blocks from the current courthouse, at the southernmost end of the Sacramento rail yards project.

Had the Public Works Board not acted to approve the acquisition, Dickinson said, "there was a risk that we would lose the site."

Cathy Locke





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