Courtroom renovation

 Union County has received a state grant that will allow the county to proceed with needed improvements in the Chancery Court building.

The state has awarded a State Municipal and Limited Population County Grant for $100,000 that will be matched with about $16,900 in county money from the general fund.

Union County Board of Supervisors President Danny Jordan said, “The renovation has been needed to be done for a while. We will be able to extend the courtroom and add more security, too. We are fortunate to get this grant money.”

The Chancery Court handles all sorts of domestic relations issues, including divorces, child custody and child support. The court also handles disputes and suits involving property lines and easements.

The court is divided into districts around the state. Eight counties are in our district here, with four elected judges by geographical area in the district. Court usually meets more than 100 days a year in the courtroom in Union County.

Some of the impetus to upgrade the court facilities has come from Chancery Court Clerk Annette Hickey and the judges and lawyers who use the court.

A tour of the courtroom shows clearly the kinds of improvements needed. The courtroom is too small to handle some of the crowds that flow through it. Parties to a dispute and their lawyers sit at tables that touch making private conversations between attorneys and clients difficult.

And there is virtually no security other than a bailiff, an important issue in some contested divorce and child custody cases. Plans for the improvements include construction of a secure hallway around the court area and additional witness waiting areas.

We support Ms. Hickey, the judges and lawyers in their efforts to enlarge and make more secure the Chancery Court courtroom and adjacent areas. It will be money well spent.