Wraps come off new Hamilton Law and Justice Center

Posted at 12:27 PM, Jul 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-02 14:27:24-04

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    HAMILTON (KPAX TV) — Hamilton’s mayor says the city has no immediate plans for using the space that’s opened up at city hall with the move of police and court operations to the new Law and Justice Center.

Hamilton leaders opened the doors of the new Law and Justice Center to the public on Monday to showcase the major upgrade for city police and courts just a little over two years after voters approved the change.

A complete rehab of the former National Guard Armory has now created an efficient — and much more presentable — home for police and court staff.

“Yeah, so a lot of what drove this project was just space needs, especially with evidence storage and stuff,” Hamilton Police Chief Ryan Oster said.

“We were just out of room at our other facility. And here we have not only what we need for today, but room to grow in the future too. It takes a lot of pressure off,” he added.

The city court has made perhaps the most significant upgrade with a courtroom designed to the latest standards, complete with video screens, better security and top-notch acoustics.

“In my 49-years of experience working in courtrooms, this is the single finest courtroom I’ve been in from an acoustical point of view. It enables the judge to speak without shouting,” Hamilton City Court Judge Michael Reardon said.

“It’s a great comfort to the frightened and lonely self-represented litigant, someone who is in with a speeding ticket and thinks the world’s going to come to an end,” he added.

The city has also brought along the photos and other touches that continue the city’s legacy.

So what happens to all the space that’s opened up in the base of city hall? Mayor Dominic Farrenkoph says the city has opted to keep it open for now, opting to save money on any remodeling while the new building is paid off.

“The Finance Office and the Clerk’s Office and the Mayor’s Office are still there. But the city council did not want to have new chambers,” Mayor Farrenkoph told MTN News. “They would rather pay for the Justice Center. So, we’ll still meet in the Community Room.”

In addition to the Law and Justice Center, that bond issue approved by voters in 2017 also gave the city control over the adjacent parkland.

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Mark R Thorsell