Court bonds to be sold at end of month

Demolition begins on old courthouse

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 20, 2013

 Work began demolishing the 40th District Court Building Feb. 13.

Work began demolishing the 40th District Court Building Feb. 13.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

A little more than a week after City Council gave the go-ahead for a bond sale, work began to take down the old 40th District Courthouse.

After deciding to move forward with a 25-year bond, council members voted Feb. 4 to approve the resolution authorizing capital improvement bonds in the amount of $1.88 million to complement the approximately $1.8 million already saved toward the $3.5 million cost of a new 40th District Court.

“This is the final action required by the City Council,” said Bond Counsel Pat McGow. “You could be in a position to sell bonds by the end of the month to lock in the rates.”

Demolition began on the courthouse Feb. 13, and Mayor Kip Walby said it would take about five business days to be completed.

And even though the court has moved out and demolition has begun before bonds were secured, Walby said the $1.8 million that has already been saved in the court building fund is being used to pay to get the project “moving along.”

“Come Feb. 25, we’ll have sold the bonds, (and in the) first 10 days in March, we’ll have the proceeds from the bond sale,” he said.

With the city rated AA-minus, Walby said there would be no reason St. Clair Shores would not secure the additional 50 percent in funding it needs.

Walby said that, as the city pays off the bond, any money leftover will be placed in the court building fund, to be set aside for the facility and to possibly pay off the bonds earlier. The bonds would not be recalled, he said, for at least a decade.

He said the court’s temporary location at the St. Gertrude Church school building was “functioning pretty well.”

It will take approximately 9-12 months for the new building construction to be completed.

The 40th District Courthouse has been in place at the corner of 11 Mile Road and Jefferson Avenue since 1978, but parts of the building date back to 1937, Walby said.

“The existing water department that used to be there, those walls and windows were still in the building,” he said. “It’s an old structure, it’s lived its life, but it’s kind of surreal to see it.”

Nevertheless, Walby said he’s glad to see the city moving forward.

“It’s starting over and, I think it also means we’re still trying to make our community and our public facilities top notch,” he said.