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Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 11:05 AM

Public weighs in on new Justice Center

Public weighs in on new Justice Center

Dozens of community members turned out to look at the exterior design and interior layout of the new Taylor Justice Center Thursday, June 6m and had an opportunity to talk to the architects and city leaders about the project.

Air conditioning issues delayed opening the auditorium, so the event started with an impromptu meeting in council chambers, allowing members of the citizens advisory committee to comment on the process.

“We spent a lot of time walking around Taylor and looking at ways in which the use of elements in the building might have some historic quality that would translate into something that would be useful to our own project,” said John McRae, a member of the citizens advisory committee.

He said committee members joined city leaders in touring other public buildings in the region for inspiration.

The committee spoke about their goals of creating a public building that would stand the test of time and be able to grow with Taylor.

“We wanted this to not just be striking from an outside standpoint but also to hold on to everything on the inside and make it a very workable space for not just our community but also the police department and everybody who is going to use it,” said advisory committee member Curie Humphreys.

Committee member Jeff Snyder said they don’t want a structure that is only suited for this era.

“We need a timeless structure,” Snyder said. “This building has to be here and be able to last for 50 or 75 or even 100 years. It needs to be made of materials that are going to last 100 years. This is a lot of money being spent and it has to last a long time.”

While they waited for the exhibit to open, residents asked questions about how much of an increase in space the new center would be over the three separate buildings it would replace. Randall Scott of Randall Scott Architects said the new building would be 60,300 square feet but did not know the usable square footage of the existing buildings that currently house City Hall, the Police Department and the courthouse.

Other attendees questioned the cost of the building. Mayor Dwayne Ariola told the crowd that while the funds obtained through bond sales for the building could not be diverted to other purposes, the city does have the option to construct a smaller facility.

“We’re going to be pinching pennies with these (architects). It’s not gold-plated urinals,” the mayor said.

Once the auditorium opened, members of the public were treated to displays showing the exterior and interior designs as well as a video outlining some of the structural and space problems with the current facilities.

David Legere said he was happy to have been one of the many members of the public who showed up to give input to the Envision Taylor comprehensive plan, and expressed concerns over what he sees as a vocal minority that protest almost any city growth.

“Now we switch to this mob rule where nobody wants anything,” Legere said. “That’s a shame for Taylor. It’s chilling on folks who want to help Taylor. What do you do? Just as soon as they approve something there are people who want to gut it and go backward. The importance of a vibrant downtown is just not appreciated.”

Read the online version of this article to hear quotes from residents in attendance.


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