Harrisonburg, Rockingham County begin to look for more space for courts

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Changes could be coming to downtown Harrisonburg as the city and Rockingham County look to add more court space.

King said the recent shuffling should put the city and county in a good position for about the next five years. Buying more property for more space comes after that time frame.

Stephen King, the administrator for Rockingham County, said they are in the beginning stages of looking for more room to expand.

Recently, the county and city have worked to create more space in the Harrisonburg Rockingham General District Court. They have moved some staff to the Rockingham County Administration Center in order to make room for another judge in the general district court.

The move should keep the court system covered for about five years. The city and county are planning for past that by looking at "many possibilities" as to how to expand in the future by buying property, according to King.

Andrea Dono, executive director for the Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, said she hopes the expansion does not mean Harrisonburg loses any of its historic and unique personality.

"Our built environment is a big part of our identity and it's what sets us apart from other communities," Dono said. "Certainly, it makes Harrisonburg Harrisonburg."

One of the "many possibilities" is the Denton Building beside the general district court. King said it is one of the best options because it is next door to the court.

Dono said she hopes expansion will not end up hurting Harrisonburg's economy by leaving a local business without a home or by destroying part of the city's history.

"This is part of our history and this is what we identify with," Dono said. "This is the backdrop of where we make memories. So it's important on so many different levels."

King emphasized the county and city have looked "everywhere" for more space and have not settled on any location.