Westchester’s newest court opened Thursday afternoon with a ceremony hosted by County Executive George Latimer. It’s the New Rochelle Family Court, located on the third and fourth floors of a new building at 26 Garden St.
The New Rochelle court previously was at 420 North Ave.
The facility has two courtrooms, three hearing rooms, judge’s chambers, offices for nonjudicial staff as well as for staff from the Office for Women, Department of Probation and other county agencies. The court facility covers 35,000 square feet.
Family courts hear a variety of cases including those involving child neglect, child custody and support, domestic violence, juvenile delinquency, adoption and guardianship.
Ninth Judicial District Administrative Judge Kathie Davidson cut the ceremonial ribbon to denote the official opening and is credited with playing a significant role in making the new facility a reality.
“I just don’t want this moment to be lost because there are other great things we need to do,” Davidson said. “This state-of-the-art facility will better serve the modern-day justice needs of our local families, with its proximity to public transportation and major roadways making for easier access to the courthouse.”
The building was developed by Simone Development Cos. and Mark Stagg’s The Stagg Group.
“The construction and development business is not an easy business; it’s a difficult business,” said Joe Simone, president of Simone Development. “It takes a team and it takes teamwork to get this accomplished. I don’t think you could find a better location and better site.”
Westchester County has a 30-year, $55.5 million lease at the facility. The space devoted to family court is in the low-rise segment of a project approved for a mixed-use 24-story structure with 186 affordable apartments.
“At the end of the day…it takes development and construction professionals to create a building like this and none of us who are civilians really understand how complicated that is,” Latimer said.
“We’re involved many times on the paperwork side of it and the men and women who understand how development and construction work stand in a site, and decide exactly how they’re going to develop a site that sits hard on the Thruway with a road that you can’t close in front of you that gets access to the Thruway, and somehow build a building as part of a complex that includes other things and yet it will provide the family court that we care about so deeply.”