LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Ward Burke Federal Courthouse in Lufkin is no longer on the list of facilities being considered for closure. The unexpected announcement came during the First Friday chamber business meeting at noon Friday.
Lufkin attorney Scott Skelton read to the group an email advisory sent from Lufkin attorney Curtis (Curt) W. Fenley, III to Angelina County Chamber of Commerce President Jerry Huffman that stated, "Chief Judge Davis called a few minutes ago and indicated that the Fifth Circuit Space and Staffing Committee has removed the Ward Burke U.S. District Courthouse in Lufkin from the list of Fifth Circuit court facilities recommended for closure. Thanks to everyone who had a part in lobbying for this result. The Lufkin community, our elected officials, bar members and judges did an outstanding job in aid of the cause. Long live the Lufkin Courthouse!!"
Lufkin's federal courthouse was listed as number 45 of 60 other courthouses on the chopping block that included courthouses in San Angelo and Wichita Falls.
"It's important economically because it's the anchor of our revitalized downtown. But, it's also important because it's the base of operations for the local FBI, US Attorney's office," said Skelton.
Skelton says officials plan to have a full time residing judge for the federal courthouse in Lufkin within the next four years.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals began discussing the possible closures Friday morning and no immediate decisions had been expected.