"and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze,"
We'd heard a rumor this was coming:
On Tuesday afternoon, Council Member Don Zimmerman said Council Member Ora Houston has joined him in lobbying of Travis County Commissioners Court to build its new county courthouse in East Austin instead of downtown.Read the whole thing here.
"Putting the proposed courthouse downtown doesn't make sense. Downtown is already very congested and expensive," Zimmerman said in a statement. "East Austin would be much more affordable and would spur economic development in the 'Eastern Crescent' of the city."
Seeing Zimmerman and Houston linked together as teammates on this issue may seem strange at first — he's a conservative with firebrand anti-tax sensitivities representing the fairly affluent reaches of Northwest Austin. Houston, a longtime community activist, lives in the house her parents built in 1954 in an modest area of East Austin. She's a minority with a deep passions for the community she represents.
Zimmerman's draft resolution still needs a hearing by the city's Audit and Finance Committee and probably the full council. The timeline is short if the county is to amend its proposal. Then again, Zimmerman and Houston may feel secure in the possibility that voters will get wind of this new — and much less expensive idea — and trounce the big invoice.
If the prime downtown block were to go on the market for other commercial use instead of the courthouse, plenty of developers would line up to cash in on that opportunity.
Bottom Line: Putting the new courthouse in East Austin at a fraction of the cost makes FAR more sense than building a $287 MILLION ($400 million with interest) Taj Mahal complex on prime downtown real estate.