“Rally to Save Staunton” held in opposition of proposed courthouse expansion

Protestors rally at Augusta County Court House to protest plans for expanding the county court house

STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) - An expansion of the Augusta County Courthouse has been talked about for a while, but a proposed plan has many in the community upset.

“Save our Skyline” and “Let them Stand” were signs held at the Rally to Save Staunton Sunday, as community members came together to protest the proposed courthouse expansion.

Ellen Boden has lived and worked in Staunton for nearly 20 years and said the historic downtown was a big draw for her.

“That’s why we moved here, that’s what attracted us. That’s what attracts the people who come in everyday to my shop downtown saying ‘Oh, Staunton is pretty cool, tell me about it,’” Boden said.

Part of the proposed plan would remove historic buildings around the courthouse and some say there can be other options for the expansion.

“Right across the street there, Augusta County, has some buildings that are old, they’re not particularly historic, some of them are even abandoned,” Howard McDowell, a Staunton resident, said. “Why is it that you can’t use these potential places and instead have to tear down these existing buildings?” McDowell said.

Many local leaders spoke about the beauty of downtown Staunton, and a petition has been created that has almost 3,000 signatures.

“I love the character of this town, it’s part of the reason I stayed living here for so long. It’s got a quaint, welcoming charm to it and once you start tearing out buildings in the center of downtown, you’re going to lose that,” Angus Carter, the rally’s organizer, said.

The hope is that the expansion plan will be reconsidered.

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