NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Westchester County executive is pushing back against critics of a proposal to relocate a Family Court facility.
County Executive George Latimer said the decision will be made on the facts, not on fear. CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported Wednesday.
The Family Court building on North Avenue serves residents of New Rochelle, as well as neighboring Pelham and Mount Vernon.
On Wednesday, it was not serving air conditioning.
“It’s rundown. The attorneys’ room is pretty seedy, and the way it’s set up isn’t really effective,” attorney Shari Rackman said.
Eight years ago, the Office of Court Administration told Westchester to find a new home for the court. A vacant grocery store on Pelham Road is now the focus. The county says it’s big enough, can be remodeled affordably and has plenty of parking.
However, a lot of residents might not like it.
“That might be the problem!” one person said.
Indeed, neighbors told CBS2’s Aiello it’s a bad fit for this part of town.
“Too much traffic,” one person said.
That, and a lack of public transportation options are frequent objections.
But the county executive said some are pushing what he calls “fear arguments.”
“The rumors … it’s a methadone clinic. It’s going to be handling all probation of all kinds of people. All the fear factor. That argument has to be stood up against,” Latimer said.
Latimer said the court will be safe and secure, not a threat to the neighborhood.
The new Family Court in Yonkers will be the template, a modern facility with state-of-the-art technology, including screens for videoconferencing.
Latimer said Court Administration is pushing for a resolution.
“If they direct us to do something and we don’t do it they withhold our state aid,” Latimer said. “They’ll fine us money, and I’m not prepared to put the county in jeopardy over arguments that are based on fear.”
The county is still shopping around for a site, but the former grocery is clearly at the top of the list.