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It’s back to square one for courts building

The idea of locating a brand new Bremerton courts building at 10th Street and Park Avenue vanished this week after Puget Sound Energy notified the city the land was no longer for sale.

Officials received the news about an hour before the Bremerton City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday.

“We’ll look at potentials for leasing space or other alternatives,” Economic Development Director Gary Sexton told the council members during a study session before the meeting.

This was the third location the council has considered for relocating the courts and one that many thought was a done deal. The municipal courts and police department are located in the former City Hall building, which is expected to be demolished to make way for a hotel specializing in extended stays. Hotel Concepts has agreed to purchase the building on Fourth Street provided the city council approve the site plan. The deal has a tenative closing date of Jan. 31, 2007.

The council originally wanted to locate the courts at the former U.S. Bank building at Sixth Street and Pacific, but it proved to be too costly to remodel. It also considered locating the courts in the former CenCom Building at 17th Street and Warren Avenue, but opted to construct a new building at the PSE site.

The police department is on track to move to the Kitsap Credit Union’s Burwell Street building after bank employees move to their new headquarters at Second and Washington this summer.

“We’ll go back to day one and start all over,” said Cecil McConnell, council president.

Sexton suggested looking at the police department’s west precinct building, which the city has decided to sell. The council instructed him to bring back more information on that location.

In other business the council heard from a contingent of Girl Scouts at its regular meeting. They urged the council to keep the Scout Hall, located at 11th Street and Warren intact. City attorney Roger Lubovich hinted at a possible agreement that would allow the Girls Scouts and Camp Fire USA to stay in the building until road improvements are made. Last week public works officials presented a plan that would change the configuration of the intersection and require the demolition of the 70-year old building. A public hearing regarding the road improvements has been scheduled for April 5.

Also scheduled for next Wednesday is a resolution to extend a moratorium on development over 40-feet in the Highland and Pleasant Avenue area.

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