Anniston council approves swap between city hall, federal courthouse property

Anniston council approves swap between city hall, federal courthouse property
Federal building in Anniston (Source: WBRC)

ANNISTON, Ala. (WBRC) - The Anniston city council has approved a land swap that will give city hall a new home.

By a vote of three to two, the council approved a swap that would allow the General Services Administration to demolish the current city hall and replace it with a new federal courthouse. The new courthouse would house three judicial chambers and two courtrooms for the Northern Judicial District of Alabama, according to a GSA web page. The GSA also lists the U.S. Attorney's office and the U.S. Marshals among other tenants of the new facility.

That same website says preliminary designs were due in April and the GSA project team will seek approval for them in July.

Anniston would get the old, historic courthouse, and move its city government into it.

Mayor Jack Draper says the move would generate 300 construction jobs in the area plus even more economic boosts after the courthouse opens.

“And additionally, we’ll be getting $20,000 in moving expenses,” Mayor Jack Draper said. “And I’m thrilled that this is finally taking place, I think that’s good for the city of Anniston and good for the entire region.”

The GSA has for years planned to build a new, central courthouse that would serve a large part of east Alabama. Not long ago, they closed the federal courthouse in Gadsden. The one in Anniston hears mostly civil cases and bankruptcy court, but will likely hear criminal cases in the newer facility.

Not everyone was in agreement. Council Member Ben Little said the whole thing would be too expensive.

While the old Anniston City Hall is being demolished and a new courthouse is being built, the city offices will move temporarily into the Consolidated Publishing building, where a number of local newspapers including the Anniston Star and the Daily Home of Talladega are published.

For more information on the new federal courthouse, click here.

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