Pima County Historic Courthouse reopens with museum, memorial, visitor center

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Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 4:14 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - After a $32-million renovation, the Pima County Historic Courthouse will reopen to the public next week.

“What we see happening here is really an acknowledgement of how as a community we can come together and get something done,” said Ned Norris Jr., Chairman of Tohono O’odham Nation.

Community leaders joined forces to renovate the nearly 100-year-old building, a Tucson staple.

The renovation includes the addition of the University of Arizona’s Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum inside the courthouse. Joaquin Ruiz, the museum’s executive director, said he hopes the museum will reinforce the city as a gem destination.

“Bringing the museum downtown, making it part of the community we believe will solidify the existence of the gem and mineral show in our community forever,” he said.

The January 8th Memorial is outside of the courthouse. It honors the victims and survivors of the 2011 Tucson mass shooting.

“It’s such an important place for people to come remember, respect and have our kids learn about peace and democracy. It’s such a serene place,” said Crystal Smith, the former executive director for the January 8th Memorial.

Former Arizona Rep. Ron Barber, was one of the 13 people injured that day. He’s now on the board of directors for the memorial.

“What came about was a community outpouring of compassion, support and love,” he said. “Meals at our homes and all the rest. I’m so thankful.”

The memorial represents the comfort and unity shown by the community.

“What defines us is what happened later as people came to our support, put up memorials around town and till this day support us,” Barber said.

The courthouse renovation also includes the addition of the Southern Arizona Heritage and Visitor Center. Pima County is inviting the public to a free events next week to celebrate the courthouse reopening. Learn more about the events, here.

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