Augusta County voters said to move the courthouse to Verona. Now what?
“I think the proof is in the voter turnout and their interest in the project.”
HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Unofficial election results show Augusta County voters want the courthouse to be moved to Verona.
With 30 out of 31 precincts reporting, about 86% of voters chose the Verona option on Tuesday’s referendum. County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald said he’s pleased with the outcome.
“We feel good about it. We were happy voters got an opportunity to come out and share their thoughts with us on where this project needs to be built,” Fitzgerald said.
While voters tend not to show up for midterm elections, over half of registered voters in the county showed up to make their voice heard. 53,084 people are registered in Augusta, and 29,923 people voted in the referendum.
“It was great turnout and it just shows how important this issue is to the people in the county,” said Fitzgerald.
Now that the location is decided, the construction drawing phase will begin. Fitzgerald said the process will take most of the year, so by next fall, the county will be able to search for the right contractors.
By Spring 2024, the time will likely be right for construction.
This referendum will have an impact on both Augusta County and Staunton for years to come, and it’s likely to change things in other localities. Since Fitzgerald and other stakeholders had to seek permission to have the referendum and to word the question with more context, Fitzgerald hopes state lawmakers consider the process in general.
“I’m hopeful that the state will look at that and maybe see that there’s a different way of tackling these types of issues going forward across the state, which may be helpful to other localities,” Fitzgerald. “I think the proof is in the voter turnout and their interest in the project, and the results we received were different than what we saw in 2016, and I think the biggest reason for that was because the question was different, and the general assembly allowed us to have a different question.”
As for the current circuit court building, Fitzgerald said they’re working on plans for it, and he said it will always be an important part of their history.
“We’re currently working with a nonprofit organization to possibly occupy that building with a use that would encourage some more tourism downtown.”
For previous coverage on the Augusta County Courthouse, follow a link below:
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