State announces courthouse closing

TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER

STAFF WRITER

Effective Friday, Aug. 30, the Bristol courthouse, 131 North Main St., will be closing.

All cases as of Tuesday, Sept. 3 from 131 North Main Street will be heard at the New Britain Judicial District Courthouse. The New Britain courthouse is at 20 Franklin Sq., New Britain.

Patrick L. Carroll III, chief court administrator, made the announcement April 29.

Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said that while she didn’t know exactly how many staff members were Bristol residents, she knew that many were. Judicial Court staff said all employees would be transferred to new locations, with the majority heading to New Britain, according to Zoppo-Sassu.

“We are very grateful to Mayor Zoppo-Sassu for understanding why this move is necessary and beneficial to all parties,” said Carroll in a release. “Moreover, given the daily challenges that the judicial branch, prosecutors, and public defenders continue to face because of reduced resources, this move allows us to position those resources more effectively, and thus provide the best services possible to the people we serve.”

Connecticut Judicial Branch officials stated that they have already started working with Zoppo-Sassu, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin T. Kane, and Chief Public Defender Christine Perra Rapillo to “facilitate the closing of” the Bristol courthouse (Geographical Area 17), and the “transfer of those cases to the New Britain courthouse” (Geographical Area 15).

“I think it is one more step in the evolution of the new downtown,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “We have enjoyed a good relationship with the courthouse but I don’t think that it is a negative.”

“We have only begun to discuss what this impact is, but it may allow us to proceed with renovations at City Hall by giving us space to relocate entire floors at a time to the vacated court space,” said Zoppo-Sassu. “We can also evaluate office space that we have throughout the city and potentially cut costs by bringing some of that back to North Main Street, or at the very least, reorganize some of the layout and place departments that work closely together in close proximity so there is more efficiency both for staff and for taxpayers.”

The mayor explained that financially, there would be no issue this year, as the city received new payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) revenue for the Housing Authority property, and the reimbursement could be used to replace the courthouse rent.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at TMurchison@BristolObserver.com.