Dunn urges Feds to adopt courthouse plan

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Neal Dunn (FL-02) delivered a proposal Wednesday to the General Services Administration (GSA) to convert the Bay County Juvenile Justice Courthouse into a federal courthouse. The proposal, developed by a Bay County Chamber of Commerce task force, includes a letter of support from Congressman Dunn, the resolution of support from Bay County Commissioners, and a video tour of the juvenile justice center. The current federal courthouse in Bay County is expected to close when its lease expires on December 31, 2018.

“Loss of the federal courthouse would place a substantial burden on local citizens who access justice and exercise their civic responsibilities in Panama City, as well as attorneys who practice in the federal court,” wrote Dr. Dunn.

On Tuesday, the Bay County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to convert the Bay County Juvenile Justice Courthouse located at 533 E. 11th Street in Panama City into a federal courthouse for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The current Panama City courthouse serves a six-county population of more than 300,000 Floridians.

“The proposal reflects our community’s commitment to a long-term solution for keeping a federal courthouse in Panama City. As you review our proposal, I request that you consider the size of the community presently served by the federal courthouse in Panama City, Florida, and partner with us to avoid closure, which would inflict undue burdens on residents and businesses,” Dr. Dunn continued.

Dr. Dunn has been working with GSA, the U.S. Courts, and local stakeholders to keep the federal courthouse open. In March, he sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting language that directs GSA and U.S. Courts to collaborate with local stakeholders in Bay County to prevent closure of the federal courthouse in Panama City.