County, state and local officials broke ground Friday in Trotwood for a long-awaited Montgomery County municipal courts building.
“It’s going to be more than just a courthouse,” said Montgomery County Administrator Michael Colbert. “I believe that this facility will set the standard for municipal buildings across the United States. And it will also be something that the citizens in the community of Trotwood can be proud of.”
In addition to housing the Montgomery County Municipal Court’s Western Division, the $6.2 million, 18,000-square-foot facility will also provide office space for Montgomery County Workforce Development and Montgomery County Job and Family Services programs.
Currently in New Lebanon, the county made a wise decision to return the courthouse to Trotwood after a two-decade absence, said Brookville police Chief Doug Jerome. Census 2020 results show 49,660 residents live in the Montgomery County communities the new courthouse will serve, he said. Nearly half, 23,070, reside in Trotwood.
“That’s a lot,” he said. “It makes sense to have a court in the jurisdiction where we live because police officers, they have families. Everybody’s short-handed. Everybody’s trying to get to all these court appearances. It makes sense to represent the people where the court’s located.”
Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley said the facility will improve people’s ability to get due process.
“Soon, residents in the western portion of the county will be able to access matters of justice in a new, efficient and accessible building that is worthy of them,” he said. “This new building is a renewed commitment to each other, to government and to the betterment of those we have the privilege to represent.”
In addition to Trotwood, the Western Division court serves Brookville, Clay Twp., Farmersville, Jackson Twp., Jefferson Twp., New Lebanon, Perry Twp., Phillipsburg and Verona. The Eastern Division court in Huber Heights serves that community along with Riverside.
First announced in 2018 following 2017 recommendations by the National Center for State Courts, the move of the Western Division suffered some setbacks.
“COVID-19 and a tornado really postponed a lot of this great thing from happening,” Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald said.
“We believe this locating back to Trotwood will serve the citizens of this county, in this division and the municipalities adjacent, to the access of justice that they truly deserve in a timely and convenient manner,” she said.
Earlier this month, county commissioners approved a $6,211,000 construction bid by Brumbaugh Construction. The building is expected to be completed in fall of 2022 and the court operational by January 2023, according to the county.
Montgomery County Commission President Judy Dodge said the facility will be state-of-the art, outfitted with the latest security features and digital audio, visual and presentation technologies to allow for virtual sessions.
“This will streamline court proceedings, creating a better experience for everyone,” she said. “The pandemic got us used to having virtual events and in a way that was a good thing.”
Montgomery County Commissioner Carolyn Rice said the current court in New Lebanon is not easily accessible by public transportation, a “major” factor in deciding to move to “a more centralized location” that will have a bus stop as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
Rice said the location at 875 E. Main St. will also expand a growing Trotwood civic center. The site is near City Hall and just across Macgregor Drive from the new Dayton Metro Library Trotwood Branch and Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley’s West Campus Community Services Center.
“This is absolutely the perfect location for this project,” she said.