To the Editor:
The problem with the courthouse isn’t its architectural styling, rather its location. The courthouse entertains an audience which comes to downtown not to recreate, but to get a certain business done. This crowd has proven to be a nuisance to the public in the past, which can be another turnoff for would be guests of downtown if paid parking wasn’t enough already.
This dilemma can be avoided if the county and Joliet think one last time and look south of the bank. The parking lot on West Marion Street and Route 6 is the spot for the courthouse, no demolition needed. It would be close to downtown but let people conduct the business they need without impeding those who are in downtown for leisure.
Parking in Joliet is always an issue and to accommodate court and detention staff, a three-story parking garage masquerading as a real building would be the base of the courthouse. Courthouse schematics could be tweaked to fit the new space and would then span 13 stories if the new design were to keep the original 10-storied courthouse.
Afterward, hopefully relocation of lawyers would follow, freeing up buildings in downtown for repurposing. Accommodating these businesses would be up to Joliet and another expenditure to look at in the future, but what is plausible would be to construct multi-storied “loft” offices facing west to the prison above the Pace Bus depot that would house the law firms after their leaving downtown.
If this came to fruition, the result would be a compact judicial district for Joliet and Will County, complete with lawyers’ offices, courthouse and detention facility all within walking distance from one another. This plan would not only be more effective for the court system, but also beneficial for future developments in downtown Joliet.