Voters OK bond issue for Family Justice Center

By Staff Report

St. Louis County could see a new Family Justice Center by 2015 as a result of voters approving Proposition S in last week’s election, according to Mac Scott, spokesman for County Executive Charlie Dooley.

“You (have) to do these beginning stages (of planning) to have a really clear idea of the time frame and how it works,” he said. “This is a difficult progress to stage due to the nature of what business is conducted in those buildings.”

Prop S, a general obligation bond issue, received more than the 57.15 percent of “yes” votes needed to be approved by voters. The proposition, which garnered 52,888 “yes” votes — 59.52 percent — and 35,967 “no” votes — 40.48 percent — will fund the construction of a new Family Justice Center and renovations to the county’s current court building without a tax-rate increase.

Sixth District Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, said he was glad to see Prop S pass.

“I had always said that I wanted to leave it to the vote of the people and the people have spoken,” Stenger said. “They want to have the courthouse. They want to have renovations to the circuit court building, and I think that’s great.”

Everyone in the county has full access to both buildings, according to Stenger, and the passage of Prop S has “something for everyone.”

“I think (the passage of Prop S) means that we’re all going to have a public work that we can all enjoy and take part in,” he said.

Scott said the next step in the process is formulating a request for proposals.

“We’ve probably got about a year to get the construction contracts awarded, could be two years,” Scott said. “There are a lot of factors involved.”

Construction of the new Family Justice Center could begin within two or three years, according to Scott.

Scott said the passage of Prop S helps the county solve what would have been “some very difficult problems.”

“The county executive and this administration were very happy with the passage of this bond issue and (are) just really looking forward to getting these improvements made,” he said.