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03/06/2019

County Leaders, Judges Tour Old ANC-Burdette

 

Last Friday, Mississippi County Judge John Alan Nelson invited judges, attorneys and several county elected officials to the Arkansas Northeastern College-Burdette Center, more commonly known as the Cotton Boll Technical Center, to see if a temporary courtroom could be set up in the facility.

During the renovation of the Blytheville courthouse, the current plan is to temporarily hold court and have a functioning courthouse at the ANC- Burdette Center.

Renovation of the Blytheville courthouse is set to begin around November.

Originally, the ANC-Burdette Center was not available to hold the Blytheville Courthouse due to it being roughly a mile outside of the Chickasawba Judicial District.

According to Judge Nelson, a bill has passed the Arkansas House and Senate regarding a temporary redistricting of the lines while the courthouse is being renovated. Nelson stated it is on Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson's desk and is waiting to be signed.

"We invited judges, attorneys, Circuit Clerk Leslie Mason, and others to tour the projected site of the temporary Blytheville Courthouse at the Burdette ANC Campus," Nelson said. "We planned this meeting to gather input on the temporary courtroom. The meeting went very well and we are excited about the future."

Circuit Judge Ralph Wilson, Jr., who was in attendance Friday, stated the county and Second Judicial District is fortunate to have the ANC-Burdette Center available.

"Circuit Judges Melissa Richardson of Jonesboro, Dan Ritchey of Blytheville, and I toured the ANC-Burdette facility on Friday, along with County Judge John Alan Nelson, Quorum Court member Michael White, and local lawyers. Scott Creecy of ANC answered questions for us," Judge Wilson said. "My ongoing comment during that lunch hour tour was that it was doable to convert this facility to a temporary court facility for courtroom space and supporting space for juries, witnesses, court security/law enforcement, and the public while the Blytheville courthouse is being renovated and with a new addition. We are fortunate that we have this facility available on a temporary and backup basis. It is not perfect but the parties involved can make it work for a year or so during the construction period in Blytheville."

Prosecuting attorney Curtis Walker thanked ANC for working with the county during the transitioning process.

Walker added, "I am thankful that Arkansas Northeastern College is willing to work with and help our county as we make this transition allowing use of the ANC-Burdette Center."