GREENVILLE, AP) — A proposed site has been chosen for a new $40.1 million federal courthouse in Mississippi.
The courthouse would be built on a vacant lot in downtown Greenville where the first Stein Mart department store used to stand, the Delta Democrat-Times reported. It's a short distance from the current federal courthouse that is considered outdated and not secure enough.
The General Services Administration announced the site Sunday, starting a 30-day period for public comments. If the land is acquired, construction could begin in March 2019, and the courthouse could open by autumn 2021.
Mayor Errick D. Simmons said he supports the GSA's choice of the old Stein Mart location, which was chosen over two other two other sites.
"This courthouse will be an economic catalyst for downtown revitalization and will continue our efforts to rebuild our downtown and build upon our current assets," Simmons said.
The new building will have two courtrooms with three judicial chambers for the U.S. District Court for Northern Mississippi.
The U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. attorney, the federal public defender and U.S. Probation Services will also have offices in the building.
There was debate several years ago about building a new federal courthouse in Cleveland instead of Greenville.
Simmons said Stein Mart Square is important to the community as a green space used for downtown events. However, he said if the courthouse is built in that spot, the city will work to "create a bigger and better green space."
Daniel Boggs is executive director of Main Street Greenville, which helped create the square in 201. He said he has mixed feelings about the site recommendation.
"From an economic development standpoint, we are very excited that a development of this size is coming to the community and that a certain part will specifically benefit the local workforce," Boggs said. "However, it is a sad day with the understanding that Stein Mart Square is very important to the community."
This story was written by the Associated Press