[Source: “Downtown impact would be positive,” Press Citizen, 26 April 2013]
The location of the proposed justice center (adjacent to the historic courthouse) has been labeled by some as poor choice, but I don’t see how this project would have anything but a positive impact on downtown Iowa City. It’s no accident that most town squares in county seats were designed around courthouses. They provide critical services that every resident needs sooner or later.
If a separate pretrial criminal detention facility was located in a less populated area of the county (as some have suggested), it would be much more difficult for families and legal representatives to visit those who are arrested, particularly if they depend on the public transit system for access. Not to mention the transportation difficulties experienced by attorneys and judges who cannot avoid involvement in both civil and criminal matters, often on the same day.
Finally, I haven’t heard anyone argue yet that a jail that is completely separate from the Old Courthouse is the most efficient way for the county to operate. It certainly is not, but they have other axes to grind.
I plan on voting yes May 7.
LuAnn S. Reynolds