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Cortez's Justice Building Has Uncertain Future

Austin Cope
The site for the future Montezuma County Courthouse. The fate of the old courthouse has yet to be decided by the County

What will become of the Justice Building, located at the north end of Cortez’s Centennial Park, once Montezuma County’s new courthouse is completed?

On Monday, the county commissioners discussed but did not decide the fate of the facility, which currently houses county court and probation offices. It is also used by the Bridge Emergency Shelter every night during colder months, with the space provided by the county rent-free. Commission Chair Larry Don Suckla said many people privately say the shelter’s current location is not good because of its proximity to the park and recreation center. Shelter Executive Director Laurie Knutson responded that the Bridge gets blamed for the behavior of all homeless people, even those who don’t stay there. She said this is a time of great need, and she would like the shelter to stay where it is. Last year it provided more than 6,000 beds to 343 individuals, 78 percent of whom were not inebriated.  One-fourth were 55 or older. Knutson said without the shelter, city police and the hospital  would have to deal with the homeless. But Children’s Kiva Montessori School board president Nathaniel Seeley said the charter school is interested in buying the Justice Building, as it will likely outgrow its current facility on Beech Street by the end of the year.

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