Bay County terminates lease with federal government for juvenile courthouse

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Bay County Commissioners have ended their lease with the federal government for the old juvenile courthouse facility on East 11th Street.

The county terminated its lease with the General Services Administration after the federal courts decided they did not want to use the facility as a federal courthouse.

“We’ve come to terms,” said Bay County Commission Chairman Robert Carroll. “They’ve made us whole and now we can move forward with our juvenile justice courthouse construction and figuring out what we are going to do with the existing juvenile justice building.”

The one thing they said they will not do is keep using it as a juvenile courthouse.

County officials said they want to build a new juvenile facility on the same campus as the main courthouse, at the corner of McKenzie Avenue and East 3rd Ct.

Carroll said this will make things easier for everyone.

“It gets confusing when you get a notice to appear in court whether you have to go to 11th Street or if you have to go to McKenzie,” Carroll said. “It’ll be a better combination for the Sheriff’s Office. We’ll only have to have one set of bailiffs at one location. So it makes security better, it makes it easier on the residents and citizens. Overall it is just better to have everything on one campus.”

These moves also clear the way for the old juvenile courthouse to come under new ownership, which Panama City officials have expressed interest in.

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