Moving the Washington County Courthouse to the old Kmart store would be great mistake. To put a courthouse at that location would be a laughing stock. The courthouse does not belong in a shopping center. I think the only option the Board of Supervisors should consider is to expand the current courthouse. I worked in the courthouse for 10 years as a bailiff. I agree additional space is needed. There are offices in the courthouse that don’t belong there and could be relocated, making additional space available.
Parking is said to be another reason for the moving the courthouse. Parking is available on Valley Street, Park Street and Main Street. You may have to walk a few blocks to the courthouse. The Board of Supervisors should asked the Town of Abingdon to lift the two-hour parking limit around the courthouse; add at least two additional handicap spaces on Main Street in front of the courthouse.
During my 10 years at the courthouse, I estimated we had over 1,000 tourists who visited the courthouse to view the stained-glass window; we had several couples who got married in front of the window. The tourists stated they had read about the window and wanted to see it in person. When possible they were allowed to visit the circuit court courtroom.
When leaving, the tourists would always say, “You have a beautiful active courthouse, your town should be very proud of it. I hope it remains an active courthouse for another 150 years.”
If the courthouse is moved to the old Kmart, I can foresee the local joke around town would be, “What, courthouse is having a blue light special?”