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Zimmerman Proposes East Austin Location for New County Courthouse

Travis County Commissioner's Court
District 6 representative Don Zimmerman thinks the new county courthouse should be built in East Austin, instead of downtown.

Austin City Council members may consider asking whether a new Travis County Courthouse could be built somewhere other than its proposed location in downtown Austin. Council member Don Zimmerman wants the county to build it in East Austin.

In November, Travis Country voters will decide whether bonds should be used to fund a new civil and family courthouse. Estimated costs of building the proposed courthouse in the middle of downtown Austin hover around $287 million.

But Austin City Council member Don Zimmerman is asking the county: Why build it in such an expensive part of the city? Why not put the courthouse somewhere in East Austin?

“The current courthouse is from the 1930s, so its obviously out of date, and I think the community generally agrees it’s time for a new facility. We just want it to be built more economically and to be put in East Austin where we have a need for economic growth.”

Supporters of the current courthouse plan have touted the downtown location’s proximity to public transit as a benefit. They also point to revenue that could be generated from people coming downtown after hours and using the building’s parking garage.

Zimmerman’s resolution on the courthouse location will be considered at the city’s next Audit and Finance Committee meeting at the end of September.

Audrey McGlinchy is KUT's housing reporter. She focuses on affordable housing solutions, renters’ rights and the battles over zoning. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AKMcGlinchy.
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