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Dillon courthouse continues to sit empty

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Buffalo's new federal courthouse has been open for months, but an important part of the project remains undone.

According to Congressman Brian Higgins, plans for the new building included re-using the old courthouse.  
Standing at the corner of Court Street and Niagara Square Monday, Higgins told reporters the government's landlord agency, the General Services Administration, should be following through on its plans to reopen the former Dillion Federal Courthouse. 

In a letter to the GSA,  Higgins said it would be a tragedy if Washington invested millions of dollars in one part of Niagara Square  while seemingly disinvesting in another government owned building just across the street.

"This building should not be vacant. It's an  historic building," Higgins said.

"President Roosevelt was here at one time to  dedicate the  cornerstone for this building. It's part of the Joseph  Ellicott's  historic streetscape plan in Buffalo.  And they have an  obligation to Buffalo and Western New York."

The South Buffalo Democrat says while the former courthouse is vacant, the GSA is wasting money locally leasing space in private buildings for U.S. Bankruptcy Court, the U.S. Trustees, the Federal Defender and U.S. Tax Court.

Higgins says he is pressing the issue so bureaucrats understand swift action is not only their responsibility, but critically important to the community and local economy.