Open house to be held for mall that could house Jeffco courthouse

The owner of the vacant Mall at West Lake in Bessemer will open the facility to the public on Thursday.

Anthony Underwood plans to hold an open house and tour of the facility.{} He hopes the move will help gain support for the proposal to move the Jefferson County Courthouse in Bessemer into the building.

Recently, the Jefferson County Commission voted against renewing the lease to the current courthouse in downtown Bessemer.{} A majority of commissioners agreed the lease rate was too high.{}

The move would save the county about $80 million.

Several people, including a group that calls itself "Saving Bessemer" and the owners of Bright Star Restaurant are fighting to keep the courthouse in its current location.{} They say if it is moved, downtown Bessemer would become more like a "ghost town."