Springfield City Council votes to tear down Roderick Ireland Courthouse | News
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — It’s a story we’ve been following for years, health concerns at the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in Springfield.
Now some city leaders want it torn down.
Springfield City Councilors voted unanimously to tear down and rebuild the Roderick Ireland Courthouse. One city councilor said it’s an issue that’s gone unnoticed by the Commonwealth for far too long.
“There are courthouses across the Commonwealth who had their issues addressed, and still the Hampden County Courthouse has gone unaddressed, and so there needs to be action now,” Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman said.
Lederman spoke with Western Mass News after city councilors voted unanimously to raze and rebuild the Roderick Ireland Courthouse in downtown Springfield in light of a growing list of health and safety concerns.
“People have just reached a breaking point, and I think that the introduction now with the mold issue has brought it to a new level,” Lederman said.
The building closed briefly in August due to mold concerns. But for Lederman, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
“Individuals who are reporting extreme headaches, fatigue, dizziness from being in the courthouse. Some people saying when they went to remote work that went away. That indicates clearly to anyone with any public health background that there is an environmental hazard taking place there,” Lederman said.
The Springfield City Council is teaming up with city councils in West Springfield and Agawam to call attention at the state level.
“I think it’s essential for those at the state level to realize that the local governments are united and their approach to solving this problem,“ Lederman added.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni also said it’s a resolution he’s backed for a long time.
“I do agree we deserve and need a better and more suitable courthouse for the public in this area and for the folks who spend each and every day in the courthouse doing the work of the public,” Gulluni said.
We asked Lederman, in the event that the courthouse is rebuilt, where would cases be heard?
“We know there are options out there so in the event that it was razed and rebuilt. Again we would be happy to provide all the support we can on the city of Springfield side and identifying appropriate locations,” Lederman said.
For Lederman, in light of these recent health and safety concerns, it’s about calling attention to regional equity in the Commonwealth.
“Let’s be honest, it would not be swept under the rug in Boston, and it shouldn’t be swept under the rug in Springfield either,” Lederman said.
Lederman says another big problem is that the Commonwealth and trial court waited so long to do any testing.
The executive office of the trial court declined our request to comment on this story.