Old Jail's Future

By: Meryl Conant
By: Meryl Conant

When you move, you sell your house. But when you move hundreds of jail inmates, what to do with their former home becomes a trickier situation.

The former jail in downtown Staunton also houses the District, Juvenile and Domestic Relations courts, the Commonwealth Attorney's Office, and other court services.

But with all the inmates gone now, there certainly is a lot of empty space.

What do you do with a jail that is no more? Both Staunton, and Augusta County, are wondering.

"In the long term we are looking at two options actually," explained Staunton City Manager Bob Stripling. "One option would be actually to renovate existing buildings and the other is to possibly demolish the buildings and build a new facility on the remaining footprint."

Both bank on the county keeping its county business at the spot in downtown Staunton. The Queen City is pushing for that.

"We believe that both the employees who work in the court system as well as attorney and court services provide a group of people who will spend money downtown and attract other people downtown that need their services," Stripling said.

So Staunton has partnered with Augusta County to hire architects and a planning firm to create a 20-year plan for the facility which the city then will pitch to the county.

"We're hoping the city can make them an attractive offer than makes sense for them to stay in downtown Staunton," Stripling added.

Stripling said he hopes to propose a plan in the next six months.

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