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Amid overcast skies and a hot humid morning, a new gem was unveiled in north Pasadena on Friday.

The John Phelps Courthouse Annex was officially opened with hundreds of friends, family and well-wishers turning out to honor Phelps and take a tour of the new Harris County building.

Phelps and his extended family were joined by U.S. Rep. Gene Green, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, and countless mayors, city council members and other dignitaries in lauding the opening of the new facility.

“If I had one wish this morning, it’s that you would know you could feel what I feel,” Phelps said. “How could I even begin to thank you?”

The building at the corner of Richey Street and Pasadena Freeway – the site of the old Timmers Chevrolet – replaces several buildings along Shaw Street as the county has consolidated its offices in north Pasadena.

To Garcia, Phelps said, “I hope somehow you know how special this to me. Thank you does not seem like enough. But I think you from the bottom of my heart.”

Phelps continued, “Judge Emmett, thanks for your part in this today. And for your support of Commissioner Garcia’s effort to bring a new courthouse annex here. It is an important step in the revitalization of this area.”

Phelps then thanked his friends and family, and all those who came out to honor him.

“I tried to save the best for last,” he concluded, “my partner, my best friend and my foundation, my wife, Wynell. I cannot imagine where I would be without you.”

Emmett recalled the history that has taken place in the area and tied it in to Friday’s event.

“It’s easy to remember battlefields and it’s easy to remember heroes of revolutions, but a lot of the history that we make will be made in this building,” Emmett said. “The fact that this building is named after John Phelps and a family that has given so much to our community, we know that now. But it’s those generations to come … just a moment ago I saw a very small child start crawling across the concrete up here. When that child’s older they’re very likely to do a lot of business in this building.”

In this age of Google and quick facts, Emmett said, people will see John Phelps’ name on the building and look it up in the future.

“What they’ll see is the hard work that went into this building and the rich heritage of a family that has done so much for our community,” he said.

Garcia said that when she first got into office, among the top items on her to-do list was to replace the old annex on Shaw Street. After years of hard work, she said, it has finally been done.

Rather than a ribbon cutting, Garcia presented Phelps with a ceremonial key to the building.

At the conclusion of the speeches and ceremonies, Phelps joined Emmett and Garcia, among others, on a tour of his namesake building. The tour was slowed at each turn as stopped to shake hands or a kind word with everyone who offered theirs.

Among the offices in the new annex are:

The Pasadena Annex office of Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia.

The offices of the Harris County Tax Assessor Collector’s office.

Precinct 2 Constable Gary Freeman.

The Harris County Juvenile Probation.

Justice of the Peace George Risner.

County Clerk Beverly Kaufman.

The Environmental Services Division of Public Health.

Construction on the project began in September of 2009 with construction costs of approximately $13.25 million coming in at considerably less than initial estimates that ran as high as $16 million.