Federal bankruptcy court moving to Urbana

Relocating it will save government an estimated $100,000 a year

DANVILLE — The federal bankruptcy court will be moving out of downtown Danville to the federal courthouse in Urbana in May of next year.

Collins Fitzpatrick, administrator for the federal courts in the 7th Circuit, said Tuesday that moving the bankruptcy court — which is the only federal court still left in the building — to the Urbana federal courthouse would save more than $100,000 a year in lease costs.

He said it will also be more centrally located with interstate and Amtrak access for attorneys, debtors, creditors and others in the Central District of Illinois who have court appearances to make.

"The public will be better served, and the taxpayers will be better served, because it costs less money," Fitzpatrick said.

He said the United States General Services Administration, the agency that owns federal properties and leases space to federal entities like the courts, has already been notified that the court will be ending its lease with GSA at the federal building at 201 N. Vermilion St., Danville.

Phil Heimlich with GSA manages the federal building in Danville and federal courthouse in Urbana, and he said Tuesday that to his knowledge the federal building in Danville is not slated to close due to the planned departure of the bankruptcy court. He said the Social Security Administration has offices there and holds hearings there, and others lease space as well, including U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, as well as a private firm and a private attorney.

But even with those offices, the building still has ample vacant space.

The three-story limestone and granite Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Danville was built in 1911, according to the GSA website, and was the U.S. Post Office until GSA bought the building in 1988. At one time, it also housed a U.S. attorney's office, U.S. Marshal's office, and U.S. district court.

As for where in the Urbana federal courthouse the bankruptcy court will move, Fitzpatrick said the U.S. attorney's office's lease with GSA is coming to an end, and the U.S. attorney's office has some space in the Urbana federal courthouse that's underutilized.

That could be used for bankruptcy offices, and bankruptcy would share existing courtrooms in the building. He said the U.S. attorney's office will have to decide whether it will have enough space once bankruptcy moves in, and if not, would have to move elsewhere.

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