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Washington County Board of Supervisors awards bid to demolish building at courthouse, but lacks permission to tear it down

Washington County Board of Supervisors awards bid to demolish building at courthouse, but lacks permission to tear it down

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ABINGDON, Va. — The Washington County Board of Supervisors awarded a bid last week to tear down a building at the Washington County Courthouse.

But county officials do not yet have permission from the town of Abingdon to erase that building from the Main Street of this historic town.

The supervisors voted unanimously to spend $54,250 to tear down the Elliott Building at the south side of the courthouse. Tearing down the building is part of a long-term expansion plan for the building.

The demolition contract is good for 120 days, according to County Attorney Lucy Phillips, who noted that county officials now have until June 4 to obtain a demolition permit from the town.

A week prior, county officials sought approval to tear down the building from the town’s Historic Preservation Review Board, said County Administrator Jason Berry.

But the demolition plan was not approved, Supervisor Saul Hernandez said after the meeting.

So, at the close of last week’s meeting, following a closed session, the supervisors voted in favor of Berry and Phillips filing an appeal with the town to obtain a certificate of appropriateness to tear down the structure.

The Elliott Building is full of asbestos and lead, said Supervisor Mike Rush.

The board also agreed to spend $2,850 on an engineering study to determine the stability of the Elliott Building and the property of neighbor Emmitt Yeary, an Abingdon attorney who owns 173 E. Main St.

That study is necessary to check the structural soundness of the properties prior to the planned demolition, Berry said.

The courthouse has been under review for renovations since November 2019, when voters in Washington County decided the 1869 structure needed to be saved rather than move county court operations to a vacant Kmart building.

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