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Jax Daily Record Monday, Oct. 24, 200512:00 PM EST

Hyde speaks at bar association luncheon

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by Kent Jennings Brockwell

Staff Writer

Though there were a few last-minute problems finding a guest speaker, last week’s Jacksonville Bar Association luncheon was just as punctual as JBA president Alan Pickert promised the meetings would be.

“The streak is still alive,” Pickert said shortly after adjourning his third meeting as president on time.

Though original plans had Sen. Bill Nelson listed as Wednesday’s guest speaker, Pickert said Nelson had to stay in Washington, D.C., because of the uncertainty of the pending congressional vote regarding the Supreme Court confirmation of Harriet Miers. After a last-minute scramble to find a new guest speaker, Pickert said City Council President Kevin Hyde graciously accepted the invitation.

Hyde mainly spoke about the issues revolving around Cecil Field but briefly spoke about the plans for the new courthouse. Hyde said he has been working with the Chief Judge and the administration to try to “fashion together a package that might be acceptable for all parties.”

Though he said there are some separation of power issues that need to be worked out, Hyde said the new courthouse will be the “beginning of a single facility.” The single biggest problem with constructing the entire building at once has been a lack of funds for construction, he said, adding that the most recent construction price projection is about $330 million.

“We simply just don’t have enough money to build it all at once,” he said.

Hyde concluded by saying it is his goal to have a plan in action by the end of this year.

“One thing I do know is that everyone wants this issue done,” he said. “This is not a perfect solution...but I think it is a practical one that will move this issue forward.”

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