Joliet officials hope new courthouse is downtown
BY BOB OKON email@example.com July 7, 2013 4:10PM
Updated: August 9, 2013 6:24AM
Joliet City Manager Thomas Thanas gave assurances but no guarantees that a new county courthouse will be built downtown.
“I’m very optimistic,” Thanas told city council members last week, saying his optimism comes from meetings with county officials but adding there was no guarantee the building would stay downtown.
Thanas gave an update on the future of the courthouse at Monday’s council meeting at the request of Councilman Jim McFarland.
“Is it safe to say that the courthouse will stay in Joliet?” McFarland said.
“I think it’s safe to say that everyone involved in the process thinks the courthouse belongs in downtown Joliet,” Thanas replied. “But a lot has to happen to make that happen.”
Will County for years has looked at options for a future courthouse, with attention focused on a downtown location. One plan is to build a courthouse next to the current one on a site now occupied by First Midwest Bank.
The county has not closed out other possibilities. Chief Circuit Court Judge Richard Schoenstedt recently joined other local government officials in a tour of the closed youth prison on McDonough Street, which likely is to be declared surplus land by the state and is next to the county’s juvenile detention center.
The county already has several buildings in downtown Joliet, and that county infrastructure is important to the city, Thanas said.
Will County is the “largest landowner in downtown Joliet. That’s why I think it’s critical for us to maintain a good relationship with the county,” he told council members.