Montezuma County’s new Justice Center on Empire Street opens Monday. It’s beautiful, functional and a substantial improvement over the outdated judicial facilities at the downtown courthouse.
Kudos to Montezuma County and the 22nd Judicial District for bringing local courts into the 21st century.
Consolidating the district, county and family courts in one building with the probation department is a logical idea, and Montezuma County is just now catching up with the trend – which is standard throughout Colorado.
Locating the courts adjacent to the jail makes good sense in terms of both public safety and convenience, after many years of transporting prisoners downtown. Having holding cells in the court building will also increase the efficiency of the courts. Court employees and the records department will enjoy new, well-designed space as well. Jury areas will be comfortable and a legal library is included.
The relocation of the district court from the historical courthouse downtown is a nostalgic time, but that time had come. Moving county court from what has traditionally been called the Justice Building on the southwest corner of Mildred and Empire twangs few heartstrings, as that building has long been problematic. Having truly functional space will be a boon for all judicial employees and the public they serve. The new building also is a benefit for the north part of Cortez. In the past couple decades, the Cortez Police Department has moved into a new building on Empire and Park and the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and the Detention Center have built new space.
Osprey Packs is completing an extremely attractive new building, and Southwest Health System has major construction underway on the hospital and office building. Not much farther away, Cortez Integrated Healthcare, operated by Axis Health System, has an attractive building. The city of Cortez has renovated the former Cortez Journal building, and it shares the impressive park area with the recreation center and the library.
All in all, that section of town is shaping up very nicely, and that’s a view of Cortez not enough visitors see.