A building on Carter Avenue has been purchased to serve as the future home of New Albany Municipal Court and a city boardroom.
The building currently serves as the Women, Infants, and Children Food Distribution Center.
It was purchased with New Albany Light, Gas & Water electric system funds. New Albany Light, Gas & Water will lease the building to the city of Albany.
The cost was $289,000, and the building also came with a vacant lot to the north of the facility that will probably be used for parking, said Bill Mattox, general manager of New Albany Light, Gas & Water. The building was purchased from Journal, Inc.
In addition to serving as a city courtroom there will also be space for municipal court clerk offices. The courtroom will also serve as a city boardroom. The current city boardroom at city hall gets crowded during meetings of the mayor and board of aldermen.
Mayor Tim Kent said a new municipal court building is needed because the current court clerk facility on Bankhead Street is small and rented by the city. Furthermore, municipal court is currently held at the county law enforcement center, which can get crowded on court days, he said. The city wanted to get the court clerk offices and the court in the same building, he added.
The 4,000 square-foot building will require some remodeling on the inside, and there will probably be an exterior renovation as well, said Mattox.
It is located near the former Fred’s building, which has also been purchased with electric system money for $600,000.
The former 17,000 square-foot Fred’s building will be the future home of the police department and New Albany Light, Gas & Water.
The combined cost to renovate the former Fred’s building and the WIC building may be around $3 million, Mattox said.
The city of New Albany is planning to issue up to $13.5 million in bonds to pay for the renovation of the former Fred’s building as well as electric system projects.
The city has been moving forward with getting the bonds issued, but the coronavirus situation has made the timeline uncertain.
Optimistically, both buildings will be in use by the city by the end of 2021, Mattox said.