Who benefits most when a new courthouse comes to town?
By Susan Robertson for the City of Anniston
June 4, 2019
The construction of a regional federal courthouse in downtown Anniston, Alabama, is guaranteed to produce a positive economic impact, and officials with the City of Anniston received their first indication of what this impact may look like earlier this year.
An Economic Impact Study commissioned by the City of Anniston and produced by the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Jacksonville State University gives a forecast of how construction activity and capital expenditures of the $42.5 million project could economically benefit the City and County. The study focuses on a 25-month period in Calhoun County beginning this August and culminating in September of 2021. Researchers estimate a total economic impact of $45.7 million during this period of time.
The current service area of the federal courthouse includes Calhoun and Cleburne counties. After construction, the service area will expand to Talladega and Clay counties. Currently, regional federal courthouses in Alabama are located in the “big five” cities: Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, Mobile and Huntsville—major hubs of activity throughout the state.
Anniston Mayor Jack Draper says that the General Service Administration’s (GSA) decision to locate a regional federal courthouse in Anniston emphasizes the City’s prominence in the region. “We are the legal, medical and financial hub for a five-county region. Building a regional federal courthouse here puts the stamp of approval on this. I can’t underscore how big a deal it is for Anniston to be in the same league as the big five,” said Draper.