Saturday, Dec 10, 2016
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Local U.S. courthouse renovation under way

Federal government spending $1.4M

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William Burgos of The Tradesmen Group Inc. of Plain City, Ohio, grinds joints on the James M. Ashley and Thomas W. L. Ashley federal courthouse on Spielbusch Avenue in Toledo.

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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The James M. Ashley and Thomas W.L. Ashley U.S. Courthouse is getting a facelift this summer.

The U.S. General Services Administration is repairing the exterior brick and stone as well as restoring and repainting windows on the nearly 85-year-old federal courthouse in downtown Toledo. And while the long-term plan calls for construction of a new federal court building, Senior U.S. District Court Judge James Carr said the nearly $1.4 million project is a welcome one.

“I’m pleased the GSA continues to make the commitment and investment in what truly is a splendid building architecturally and an important downtown Toledo landmark,” he said. “That indicates to me that there are plans for the continued use of the building for federal purposes long after that somewhat distant day when we may actually move into a brand new building.”

A design for a new courthouse, which would be built on the Civic Center Mall, was approved in 2011, but construction plans “are still in development, and, at this time, GSA has not received authorization for construction of a new federal courthouse in Toledo,” Catherine Langel, a GSA spokesman, said in a statement to The Blade.

Judge Carr said the federal judiciary is reviewing its space needs.

“At this point, there’s no way to predict when funding and thus construction and completion will occur,” he said. “In the meantime, the GSA is undertaking what really is quite necessary maintenance of the building, which is 85 years old next year.”

The federal-style building on Spielbusch Avenue was constructed as the “U.S. Courthouse and Customs House” in 1930, the judge said, to house all of the federal offices of the day and a single judge.

Today, it is bursting at the seams with eight judges, including two in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court housed there.

If a new federal court is constructed, the current courthouse is expected to continue housing the bankruptcy court as well as some other federal offices.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

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