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Nassau lawmakers mull $72M for new Family Court

Shown is the dilapidated Nassau County Department of

Shown is the dilapidated Nassau County Department of Social Services and Department of Probation building in Garden City. (June 17, 2010) Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

The Nassau County Legislature is expected to vote Monday on $72 million in borrowing to begin renovation of the old Department of Social Services building in Garden City for the new Family Court.

Relocation of the Family Court has been an issue for years. It is located in a 53-year-old building on Old Country Road in Westbury, two miles from the county's court complex in the Garden City-Mineola area. Detractors say that building is cramped and the site lacks sufficient parking.

In May, Nassau had estimated renovation costs at up to $168 million. Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said Friday that the bonding up for a vote Monday is primarily for infrastructure improvements during the first stage of renovation.

Lance Clark, a Hempstead lawyer and past president of the Nassau County Bar Association, which has supported the move, said placing Family Court near State Supreme Court and County Court "will . . . benefit the court system."

Carnell Foskey, a former Family Court supervising judge who is now acting county attorney, said "a new Family Court is long overdue and much needed."

Village of Garden City officials in the past have expressed concern about whether the county's juvenile detention facility, which is attached to the Westbury courthouse, would move to the new court location. County officials have previously said it would not move there.

Other officials have said the courthouse relocation would prevent private development at the new site, potentially costing the village millions of dollars in property tax revenue.

Village officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

Other borrowing that the legislature is expected to consider today includes $40 million for the police crime laboratory and $423 million to renovate sewage treatment facilities.

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