Court Controversy

By: Erin Tate
By: Erin Tate

"The Court House is the heart beat of our County," said Kermit Racey, Sr., a native of Shenandoah County.

Racey practiced law near this Court House for 52 years. He says the building, built in 1794, has fascinated him all his life.

"That something could be built so long ago when we were just a colony is still there and serving the purpose for which it was constructed," Racey said.

Now, there are plans to move the courts out of the building. Some people believe it's too small to serve both the general and juvenile domestic courts.

Board of Supervisor members are considering moving the courts a mile away to a 28,000 square foot facility.

"There could be other alternatives for court room space. I'm not denying that at all. But for the taxpayers of Shenandoah County, this appears to be an economic solution," Vince Poling, Shenandoah County Administrator said.

Poling says the new building would provide more space, parking and security. But opponents think the move will upset the scheduling of cases, the transportation of prisoners, tourism and the court's history.

"As far as I can see, the General District Court is well served by the old court house," said Racey.

Racey suggests building onto the old Court House or separating the two courts to solve the space problem. But in addressing the overcrowding, he says it is wrong to eliminate the building as a court.

If the courts were to be moved, the building's deed will become void and returned to the original heirs.

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