BY LAURA HINOJOSA
As the county prepares to begin construction of the new Hidalgo County Courthouse, public officials look for the best and most feasible alternatives to ensure responsive government and continued access to courthouse services.
Beginning in September, constituents visiting the courthouse, or simply passing by, can anticipate a number of road closures, detours and limited parking around the courthouse vicinity. In light of these developments, the approximate 700 potential jurors who report for jury duty every week, year-round are of utmost importance to the district clerk’s office.
Currently, summoned jurors utilize the main public parking area located directly east of the courthouse’s main entrance. Effective Sept. 4, the majority of this public parking area will be closed off, leaving only a limited number of parking spaces available for public use. In an effort to facilitate a smooth transition for our potential jurors and the courts they serve, the county has designated reserved juror parking during the courthouse construction.
Reserved juror parking will be located immediately north of the courthouse across from the Museum of South Texas History, on the corner of 10th Street and McIntyre (Lot 1 or L1). Additional juror parking will also be available on the corner of Closner and West Kuhn Street, just south of the County Clerk Vital and Official Records Department (Lot 2 or L2).
L1 will be secured and open only to jurors Mondays through Thursdays and will be available for public use on Fridays. L2 will be restricted to jurors Mondays and Tuesdays and will be open to the public the rest of the week.
There will also be a drop-off area in front of the courthouse for those with disabilities, as well as designated disabled parking in both juror lots and in the remaining Main Courthouse Parking Lot.
The county has partnered with Valley Metro on a free shuttle that will take courthouse visitors and employees from other parking lots to the courthouse, including jurors.
Jurors provide a fundamental service to this country and play an indispensable role in our county’s judicial system. The right to a trial by jury is the cornerstone of our democracy. Juries comprised of citizens from a wide cross-section of society ensure unbiased and impartial viewpoints on cases presented in court. We want to make the process as smooth as possible, which includes securing parking closest to the courthouse.
The jury division in my office began sending information on the upcoming parking changes in juror summons issued the week of Aug. 6 for those reporting to jury duty the last week in August. We hope this notice is helpful to the public in anticipation of the initial construction phase, which is quickly approaching.
We are working with several other county departments, including facilities management, the county clerk, executive office, county judge’s office and others to ensure that our community is informed and kept up-to-date on the changes. County offices will continue working diligently to provide accessible and uninterrupted services to all constituents of Hidalgo County.
Laura Hinojosa is the district clerk for Hidalgo County.