DuPage County to ask its towns to help pay for new traffic court in Woodridge
A proposal to move one of DuPage County's traffic courts to Woodridge may depend on whether municipalities are willing to help pay for it.
The county is looking to close the Downers Grove traffic court in an American Legion post when the lease expires in February 2023. Officials say the location is no longer viable because of security concerns.
So county board members are considering two possible options. The first is to move the traffic court from Downers Grove to a new police station planned for Woodridge. The second is to bring the cases to the DuPage County Courthouse in Wheaton.
The county has the opportunity to move the traffic court to Woodridge because the village plans to build a new police station on Janes Avenue, north of 75th Street.
Woodridge and the county have discussed adding a roughly 3,300-square-foot multipurpose space that would serve as a field court and as a community room when court isn't in session.
But DuPage would need to contribute roughly $1.3 million to pay for the construction of the multipurpose space. It also would need to sign a 20-year lease and pay an annual maintenance fee.
Officials estimate the Woodridge proposal would cost the county roughly $3.19 million over 20 years.
Simply moving cases to the main courthouse in Wheaton would be far less expensive for the county. But mayors and village presidents from southeast DuPage oppose that idea.
Downers Grove Mayor Bob Barnett said moving cases to Wheaton would increase costs for the municipalities because their police officers, code enforcement officers and attorneys would spend more time traveling.
"It's also a burden on our residents who have to make the same trip," Barnett said. "And ultimately, that's who we all serve."
During a finance committee this week, board members directed staff to speak to the municipalities and see if they're willing to enter into a cost-sharing agreement for the Woodridge site.
"I think that we owe it to our municipalities to further explore the issue," said board member Greg Hart, a Hinsdale Republican.
Board member Tim Elliott said he supports moving cases to Wheaton. But if municipalities agreed to pay half the costs, the Glen Ellyn Republican said, "I would be happy to consider keeping it in Woodridge."