Indiana Supreme Court Justices Steven David, facing left, and Robert Rucker, right, speak with two contractors involved in renovations of the Lake Superior Court building at 400 Broadway. David Castellanos, owner of First American Construction Inc. is at left and Terry Larson, partner at Larson-Danielson Construction on the right. | Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 30, 2014 6:10AM
GARY — An overflow crowd of judges, magistrates, lawyers and elected leaders on Friday celebrated the return of the Lake County child support court to Gary.
Among them were Indiana Supreme Court Justices Steven David and Gary native Robert D. Rucker, for whom the Superior Court building at 400 Broadway is named.
“Way to go, Lake County,” David said, adding he was “honored and humbled” to be at the rededication of “this grand old courthouse.”
Magistrate Terry Wilson will preside over the child support court in Gary.
A year ago, then-Lake County Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura relocated the court to her building adjacent to the government center in Crown Point, despite protests by officials from the northern part of the county.
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was joined by others in a lawsuit demanding that the IV-D child support court remain in Gary where residents in Gary, Hammond, Whiting and East Chicago could have easier access to the facility.
After Thomas Stefaniak was named the new juvenile judge last year, he announced plans to return the court to Gary.
In the interim, Lake County officials began extensive renovation work, including on a much-needed new parking lot.
Lake County Superior Court Chief Judge John Pera said that while he often seeks assistance from county Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, D-Gary, rarely did Allen turn to him, as he did in this instance. As others approached him about the move, Pera said, he recognized the importance of keeping the court in Gary.
“Too many people use it; it needs to be open. We have to make our courts available to the people we serve,” Pera said.