New Valley Stream court moving forward
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Richard Vela, commander of Auxiliary Police Unit No. 108, also likes the new quarters. His department has two offices, plus storage space in the basement. Soon, his volunteer officers will be getting new lockers. “We have more space now,” he said.
On the lower level, the courtroom is beginning to take shape. Walls have been built for two new bathrooms in the front, as well as two conference rooms in the back, where meetings between prosecutors and defendants can take place. A half-wall has also been constructed for the judge’s bench area.
The mezzanine level, which overlooks the future courtroom, will house the judge’s chamber and a larger conference room. Bogle said that room will be used for most complicated cases, like zoning matters, where numerous attorneys are present.
The courtroom itself will have seating for 140 people. Because the capacity will be reduced from the present facility, Bogle expects to increase the frequency of court nights, from twice a month to every week.
Fare said he is hopeful that having the court on Rockaway Avenue will support the local businesses, because of the influx of people visiting the downtown.
There is much work still to be done. In the coming weeks, sprinklers and an upgraded electrical system will be installed. That will be followed by plumbing, the heating and air conditioning system, and completion of the walls. A handicapped entrance will be created and new windows will be installed. Bogle noted that the village has received about $250,000, a combination of grants from the state Legislature and Office of Court Administration, for the project.
The building will include a modern fire alarm system with carbon monoxide detectors, according to village Fire Inspector Frank Roca.
Thomas McAleer, the village’s building superintendent, estimated there is still six to eight months of work ahead, but said village crews and outside contractors will be working every day to get it done.
The existing courtroom at Village Hall will continue to be used for Board of Trustees meetings, and will also be upgraded to serve as a community theater. Fare said he wants the theater at Village Hall, instead of Rockaway Avenue, so it would be near the library.