Friday, July 22, 2005
Earlier this week the Lowell Sun reported that the governor formally proposed the construction of a $115 million, 280,000 square-foot judicial center in downtown Lowell, across the street from the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Plans for such a facility have been discussed for several years, but the actual site has been unclear. While the judicial center is by no means a sure thing, the latest events move it closer to reality. The local legislative delegation has long advocated this proposal, so it should find strong support in the House and the Senate. Presumably the Superior Court and the District Court will find homes in this facility. Hopefully, the additional space will allow for a full-time presence of the Probate Court in the city. While the Juvenile Court should logically be included, that court is in the midst of a long-term lease in a private facility, the former Post Office on Appleton Street. It’s unclear whether that lease could be voided by the state. Of course, the new facility might not even be completed by the time that lease expires. (Plans call for the new court to be occupied in spring 2010). As for the registry of deeds, it’s unclear where we will be located. The state’s master plan does not see courthouses to be the appropriate place for registries of deeds in the future. The primary rationale for that belief is the enormous expense of constructing courthouses. Between security concerns and the legitimate desire to have a formal, imposing setting to lend dignity and respect to court proceedings, judicial facilities are costly to build. A registry of deeds, on the other hand, has needs closer to a library than a court with a much more affordable price tag. And with almost our entire holdings available online and electronic recording about to become a realistic option for many customers, the location and physical structure of the registry are of decreasing importance. So there’s nothing definite, but we’ll certainly keep our readers informed.
Posted by Dick at 7/22/2005 02:56:00 PM