Nez Perce County Courthouse to Remain Downtown
Nez Perce County has been evaluating options to replace the courthouse at the corner of 13th and Main Street and, "The building suffers from multiple deficiencies, including structural damage suffered in a 2017 earthquake. County officials have been exploring the best way to replace the courthouse for the past three years, with the most recent discussions geared toward a centralized location with more space to build and grow.
In July, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston worked with several business owners, including attornies and title companies located in the vicinity of the courthouse, to inform the Nez Perce County Commissioners of the ways that relocating the courthouse would negatively affect vacant businesses. The Courthouse is one of the key elements of the Civic District- a significant cluster of Federal, State, County and City offices, as identified in the Lewiston Downtown Master Plan.
In comments to the Lewiston Tribune, Beautiful Downtown Lewiston Executive Director Courtney Kramer said keeping the courthouse downtown is a critical component of the continued revitalization of the historic area. She pledged to work with the county to ensure the new courthouse isn’t just an office building, but a neighborhood amenity.
“The presence of city, county and state office buildings downtown creates a civic district that is a destination for community members that brings people downtown for business at the courthouse,” Kramer said. “And that then spills over to lunches and retail shopping.”
County Commissioner Don Beck said reusing the downtown site has the added attraction of not taking private property off the tax rolls. But it does have some major drawbacks, including the lack of space. Lewiston officials have expressed willingness to work with the county, including waiving some parking requirements, vacating the block of 12th Street just south of Main Street and selling the adjacent green space to the county.