harvey_ruvin_copy.gif(Florida International University) – A new full-service courthouse is set to be built in Liberty City, but before that happens, the existing satellite office of the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Courts may close because of budget cuts, Clerk of the Courts Harvey Ruvin says.

The new facility, to be built on the parking lot of the Joseph A. Caleb Center at Northwest 22nd Avenue and 54th Street, will have space for courtrooms, judges, magistrates, mediators and clerks.

It will be paid for through a county bond issue already approved by voters. The facility is in the design stages and is expected to be completed in 2014.

Depending on the final state budget approved by the state Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott, though, the current office of the court clerk may be forced to close. Until the new facility is ready, residents may have to travel to the nearest office.

That would mean Liberty City residents would have to go to Hialeah or the Jackson Memorial Hospital area in Allapattah to obtain marriage licenses, deal with traffic violations and the like. They are about four miles away from the Caleb Center where the satellite office is located. 

But nothing is concrete.

“We are going to have to do a lot of shuffling around of the tenants of that building,” said Jose Perez, county director of design and construction services. He is hoping the office will remain open.

Residents of Liberty City already will have to endure the loss of a government fixture when the U.S. Postal Service closes the Edison postal facility June 3.

“I suppose you have to adapt,” said Juan Saavedra, who uses the Liberty City clerk’s office frequently. “But you can’t help but think maybe Rick Scott should take a pay cut too.”

Katie Lawrence may be contacted at klawr005@fiu.edu