Millions Flagged for Justice Center Repairs

A veritable buttload of work is slated for Cleveland’s Justice Center, which, according to some, is just an absolute wreck a scant 38 years into its existence. Cuyahoga County Council has already approved $7.4 million for ongoing repairs, though there’s more to come. Estimates have transcended the $400 million mark, which would be shared between the county and the city.

An Osborn Engineering planning draft follows up on county and city requests to assess the grim four-building complex. Various departments and services will be reorganized to fit in with both existing/new space and new cost structures.

“The building has reached its useful life,” County Director of Public Works Bonnie Teeuwen said at a public meeting this month. It's unclear if 38 years was ever planned as a "useful life" metric when the building was first constructed.

Nevertheless, Teeuwen's is a pretty dead-on assessment as most any visitor would acknowledge. The most common activity at the Justice Center for us plebeians is waiting in line and casting errant glances at the leaky ceiling (routine: wait half an hour in one line to pay whatever it is you're paying, find out it's the wrong one, go around the corner to what you think is the right window, find out that's actually the restroom, travel up one floor to what *seems* to be the right place, find out it's closed for the day, repeat tomorrow).

First up on the repairs docket: resealing the 26-story Brutalist tower and improving fireproofing around the place.

Other options, available for perusal via Osborn Engineering's draft, include complete demolition of the complex or the city's police department finding a new home.

County reps anticipate a broader, more public plan to be presented in the coming weeks.

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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