63rd District Court Building

Nonprofits invited to throw in proposal for former court building

October 21, 2010 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford will take proposals for a public use for the former 63rd District Court building, which is located across the parking lot from City Hall in downtown Rockford. “The county would like to have some sort of public use,” said City Manager Michael Young. “If it’s used for commercial, they want to split the rent.” The discussion at Rockford City Council’s regular board meeting on Monday, Oct. 11 was a step toward a new use for the court building after a long legal battle to bring full court services back to Rockford. According to Young, the Rockford Area Historical Society Building Committee is interested in the location as home to the society, currently located in the former Power building at the dam. “The full board is very interested in that becoming their new museum,” Young said. He noted that at one time the museum was looking at a substantial expansion at their current location, including adding water and restrooms, which are not now available in the structure. Currently volunteers walk over to use the public restroom at the Welcome Center. “Now would be a good time to entertain proposals for public or nonprofit use or if there is a need the City of Rockford has,” Young said to the council members. He said the building would double the amount of space the Historical Society has, is handicapped accessible, and has better security than the current facilities. Council member and Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Jazwiec asked if the building was also large enough to house the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) along with the Historical Society. “Both organizations don’t believe it is large enough,” Young said. He noted that the Arts Commission is hoping to find a facility where performances could be held, and added that there are offices available along the west wall of the building and one could be used for an office for the RAAC. Councilwoman Mary Eadie suggested giving area nonprofit organizations until the end of the year to provide the City with proposals for use of the building. Rockford City Hall is located at 7 S. Monroe, Rockford, MI 49341. Also on the evening’s agenda was an audit report from Peter Heafner of Vredeveld and Heafner, who annually audit […]

City buys former court building for $10

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford will buy the former 63rd District Court building at City Hall for 10 dollars and allow Kent County to lease a portion of it for up to 75 years. The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved the deal on Tuesday, Dec. 15, after Rockford City Council did late last month. “One of the stipulations is, if we win our lawsuit, that building immediately reverts back to county property, so they can bring the court back,” said Rockford City Manager Michael Young. “Our main focus is on bringing the court back to Rockford.” The City has had a long understanding to have the right of first refusal if the building were to come up for sale, and Young said he believes the city should control the building at 105 Maple Street. Both the court building and City Hall were built after removing residential homes from the block. The City believes a court presence is required by law in the city and hopes to have recently moved Judge Servaas back in residence in the Rockford court building. Servaas and the former staff of the court are now working in a new court building in Grand Rapids Township. Kent County contends the presence of a part-time magistrate fulfills the legal requirements for a court presence in the City of Rockford. A judge ruled that a court presence was required, but failed to define what the phrase actually means. A suit is currently in appeal, asking for a full court to be reinstated. Young said he is surprised a ruling hasn’t yet been produced, but said he is hopeful because it has taken so long to rule. “If it was cut and dried, we probably would have heard by now,” he said. Young also said gaining control of the building will also make it easier to reinstate a court presence. “If the county put something else in there, like the health department, it would be harder to bring the court back,” he said. Nonprofit organizations such as the Rockford Chamber of Commerce or the Rockford Area Arts Commission may eventually be housed in the portion of the building the county will not use.