Elkhart Mayor talks about consolidated courthouse

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 5:19 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A story we’ve been following for months, Elkhart County Commissioners have been looking to merge the Goshen and Elkhart courthouses.

Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson holding a press conference on Friday to make a case for keeping the courts in the cities, or if consolidated, keep the new courthouse in the city.  16 News Now caught up with the mayor earlier today ahead of that press conference to learn more.

Mayor Rod Roberson sharing his opinion and saying he was never a part of that original process to merge the two court houses.

“The process has yet to be done. We need to make sure that when there is an offering made of a location that Elkhart and Goshen downtowns are included in that option," Mayor Roberson says.

It’s a tale of two courthouses, the county would like to see just one. Mayor Roberson says taking the courts out of the cities and moving them out into the county is not the best plan.

“We have been persistent in wanting the county to review a downtown site, either in Elkhart or in Goshen would be ideal," Mayor Roberson says.

The mayor says when he took the job in January he knew something was in the works at the county level to merge the courts, but he wasn’t involved in the process until August when he says the county already had their up their minds.

“We didn’t want our court presence to leave Elkhart and we wanted to work with the county in order to do so, but they haven’t read us into and or offered that as a partnership in order to do so," Mayor Roberson says.

The City of Elkhart fearing the economic impact. Consolidating the courts could work but the mayor says to keep it in the city where the people they serve live and work.

“All of those workers, not just the workers, all of the restaurants that they go to for lunch, all of those spaces, those businesses, the halo effect as we call it, will be impacted as well."

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