With a beautiful new Federal Courthouse constructed and in use along Buffalo's Niagara Square, Congressman Brian Higgins is asking the U.S. government's landlord agency to move expeditiously to transition the former federal Dillon Courthouse for future use.
In a letter to the U.S. General Services Administration, Higgins points out, a back-fill plan for the Dillon Courthouse would include the U.S Bankruptcy Court, the US Trustees, the Federal Defender the US Tax Court, and other federal offices; however no progress has been made.
"Niagara Square is home to the Dillon Courthouse, the new U.S. Courthouse, the Statler, City Hall and the gateway to the Buffalo Convention Center, representing a magnificent coming together of Buffalo's history and future," said Higgins. "We are pressing to make sure that federal bureaucrats understand that swift action on a reuse plan for a structure that sits at the epicenter of Downtown Buffalo is not only their responsibility but critically important to our community and economy."
Original construction of the Dillon Courthouse was provided through the Emergency Relief and Construction Act of 1932. On October 17, 1936 President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone of the courthouse and recognized, during his dedication, the vital partnership between the federal government and local officials in creating public works to overcome the devastating effects of the Depression.
The unique pentagonal building, which boasts fantastic architectural features, was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing element of the Joseph Ellicott Historic District. In 1987, the historic Buffalo U.S. Courthouse was named for Michael J. Dillon, a longtime Internal Revenue Service employee killed in the line of duty.
Below is Congressman Higgins' letter:
September 11, 2012
The Honorable Daniel M. Tangherlini
General Services Administration
One Constitution Square
1275 First Street, NE
Washington, D.C. 20417
Re: Back Fill Plan for Dillon Courthouse
Dear Administrator Tangherlini:
I write today out of concern for the future of the former Dillon federal courthouse located on historic Niagara Square in downtown Buffalo. Now that the new federal courthouse has been completed -- with its impressive beacon adding dimension to Buffalo's skyline -- progress on renovating the former Dillon courthouse must commence. It would be a tragedy if the General Services Administration made an investment in one part of Niagara Square while seemingly disinvesting in another federal government owned building just across the street.
It has been my longstanding understanding that a back fill plan for the former Dillon federal courthouse exists and that the building would house the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Trustees, the Federal Defender and the U.S. Tax Court upon completion. Indeed your agency has long indicated this back fill plans as fact. Yet, no demonstrable progress on this plan has been made public as of yet. I strongly urge you to proceed expeditiously with this plan to ensure the full utilization of this historic federal structure.
Please respond as soon as possible. We look forward to working with you on the successful transition of the Dillon courthouse so that both the new and old courthouses can achieve their proper and full use.
Member of Congress