FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 3, 2004
Schumer, Hinchey, Destefano: Magistrate Courthouse Is Headed To Middletown
Officials: Getting Magistrate Courthouse is major development toward securing a larger District Courthouse in Orange County
Middletown, NY - Standing with Middletown Mayor Joseph DeStefano, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY-22) today announced that contracts have been signed to locate a Magistrate Court facility in the City of Middletown's Business Improvement District. The lawmakers announced that $1.5 million will be invested to renovate and open the facility by the end of the year.
"This is a great day for downtown Middletown because locating these court facilities here will help bring more people and greater vitality to the heart of the City," said Schumer, who wrote to the General Services Administration in March 2003 urging it to focus its search for new space on Middletown. "The tremendous population growth in Orange County is occurring mostly in the suburban areas. Adding this court facility right next to the historic Paramount Theater will help spread that growth to the City."
"The positive impact of the Magistrate Courthouse on the city's economic development activities will be significant," said Hinchey, who met in August with Chief Judge John Walker, Jr., of the Second Court of Appeals to reopen the issue of a District courthouse in Middletown. "This is also a great first step toward locating a larger federal courthouse in Middletown. Mayor DeStefano has worked long and hard on this project and should be commended."
Senator Hillary Clinton, who has also been a strong supporter of Middletown's efforts and was represented at the press conference by a member of her staff, said, "This is a very positive step on which we can build as we work toward the re-energization of the city center and downtown. This is true vote of confidence in Middletown's future and in the future of the region and I am happy to have been able to help to make it happen."
The new facility will contain the Magistrate Court headed by Judge Martin Goldberg, who was recently sworn in for his fourth term, as well as the probation office and U.S. Marshal's office. The Magistrate will sit part-time in Middletown, and the other offices will be open full-time. The building that will contain the offices has been empty for a decade. The Federal government's lease with the property owner, Paolo Rosanelli of R&B Associates calls for construction to be completed within six months.
"I am very pleased by this new development and grateful for the extraordinary assistance we've received from our federal lawmakers," said DeStefano. "This new facility will be a big help in and of itself. It will be invaluable if it opens the door to District Courthouse in the city."
While not directly connected, Middletown's selection as the site of the Magistrate Court facility is seen as an important step toward eventually securing the larger District Courthouse because it establishes a new Federal judicial presence in the city. Schumer, Clinton and Hinchey have expressed strong support for locating a Federal Courthouse in Middletown to serve the fast-growing parts of the Southern District in Orange, Dutchess and northern Rockland counties. The closest District Courthouse currently is in White Plains.
The largest number of cases in the Southern District are heard in Manhattan.