HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Although construction of the new United States Courthouse in Huntsville has been underway since April of this year, officials from the local, state and federal government gather downtown for a ground-breaking ceremony.
Among those in attendance were Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle (R), Madison County Commissioner and Republican nominee for U.S. Congress Dale Strong (R) and General Services Administration Deputy Commissioner Allison Azevedo.
The group dug into a box of sand in celebration of the over 123,000-gross-square-foot facility. While it will mainly house the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama, U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services will also have designated work spaces.
While it will be a federal building, it’s an example of what collaboration looks like across branches and levels of government.
“A project of this size takes a lot of funding and a lot of support through GSA, through our stakeholders in Congress, as well as the state as well as the local community, to bring all the funding together that's necessary to really deliver a project like this,” said Azevedo.
Azevedo’s department in the GSA’s Public Buildings Service is in charge of construction in coordination with the city. Mayor Tommy Battle praised the collaboration between the levels of government.
“This just adds to the capacity of what we can do up here. We have one of the largest federal presences in the Southeast,” he said after the ceremony. “So with that federal presence, you also have to have a court system that can adjudicate that and having this court system right here, which includes a lot of different aspects so that the federal court system is just great for the city of Huntsville. It helps us grow. It gives us the ability to manage legal matters right here in the city.”
Battle was the first of a few local officials to give opening remarks. Sitting senior judge Liles Burke, a Trump appointee, and his predecessor, Clinton-nominated C. Lynwood Smith both directed credit for this project to Sen. Shelby in their address.
“Every corner of Alabama has benefitted from his service,” said Burke. “No large city or rural hamlet in this state has been immune to Senator Shelby’s incessant work to bringing federal dollars back to improve public works, infrastructure, education, commerce and the day-to-day lives of ordinary Alabamians.”
“You needed this courthouse,” Shelby said. “You’ve got one of the big federal presences in the south, so you’re going to have something here, but what’s this all about? It’s about justice. It’s about the courts, the rule of law, addressing grievances, everything that goes with it.”
More information on the project can be found on the GSA website here.