Criticism of Courthouse Renovation

Anybody that’s been to the McIntire/Main intersection recently has surely seen the renovation of the area in front of the federal courthouse. The construction has involved tearing down the trees and installing security bollards (I had to look the word up; there’s the link), which isn’t real pretty. Former mayor and architect Maurice Cox is among those unpleased with the new look, Liesel Nowak reported in Tuesday’s Progress.

6 thoughts on “Criticism of Courthouse Renovation”

  1. I walked by there tonight. It looked so different it doesn’t even look like the same building.

  2. I had hardly noticed the building before, but with the trees gone, it sure catches the eye. I don’t think the bollards or other changes make any difference to the look or public use of the space – the trees are the big deal. The articles says new trees will be planted, but for a few seasons, its going to look pretty empty on that corner. Overall though, I fail to be as outraged as Mr. Cox seems to think I should be. At least they’re renovating and continuing to use their downtown building instead of moving the whole works to some secure compound up 29.

  3. urbanitas- The reason that Mr. Cox is upset, in my opinion, is that he and several other local designers have for many years been trying to initiate a revitalization of the West Main street corridor, connecting Downtown and the University. The courthouse is a fairly effective blockade to that plan. Pedestrian friendly, it ain’t.
    In my opinion again, the proposed streetcar and the under construction Transit Center are related to this vision. Admittedly, the Transit Center was much more related when it was actually planned to be ON West Main, but that’s another story. The proposed extension of Virginia Railway Express service to Charlottesville could potentially be considered to be part of this vision as well.

  4. I can’t tell you how beautiful the view from 5th Street at the top of that hill was, before the Feds built that courthouse. Now a very few get the view, probably judge’s chambers.

    With today’s security standards, they would not have built so close to the street. We’d have a federal courthouse on top of Jefferson School!

  5. I find it amusing that Maurice Cox and others are so upset at the construction at the federal courthouse,when there is that Giant White Eyesore at the east end of the Mall.
    The U.S. Marshals Service required that barriers be built, and in light of the fact that federal courthouses have been targeted before , it is a reasonable move. The trees will be replaced and the sidewalk is still there. This afternoon there were some anti-war protesters out there. How exactly are pedestrians going to be adversely affected? I am sure it will look okay when its done. Right now its no worse than any other site where construction is being done.The intersection there at Ridge and McIntire is far more of a hassle to pedestrians than the courthouse.
    Frankly, I am glad the feds are going ahead and doing it without answering to some of the grandiose and oftimes ludicrous plans people like Cox have for the city. A streetcar on West Main? Give me a break! What will they do about the traffic that uses the street while it is being built?

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