DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit’s U.S. District Courthouse, having reached it’s 80th birthday this month, will soon be the site of some long overdue renovations.
The citadel of justice for southeast Michigan — that’s how the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse was described as word comes of what, in total, will be a $130-million renovation. The news culminating more than a decade of lobbying by chief U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen who says security concerns were a large driver behind the project.
“Courthouses of the 30s can’t be the courthouses of the 21st century. The threats are much greater and we’re trying to step up our security here to address some of those threats,” says Rosen.
Judge Rosen announced congressional funding approval Thursday for the first of what will be a three-phase, $130-million renovation of the courthouse. Rosen says the improvements will include installation of blast-resistant windows and other security measures, in addition to plumbing and other structural upgrades. Rosen says it also includes fixing what he calls the full-service basement at the courthouse.
“It is not uncommon at all for us to sentence somebody and see them down in the basement. And, you know, it’s not a great feeling,” he says.
The historic downtown courthouse, located at 231 W. Lafayette, has been the site of some of the city’s most notable trials, including the City Hall corruption case against ex-mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the Detroit bankruptcy case.