LTE: Mature Decision Needed On Augusta County Courthouse
[Augusta County supervisors will hold an open house and townhall meeting on Thursday, November 3, from 4-7:00 pm, in the Smith Room at the Government Center in Verona.]
I own a 1972 Oldsmobile 98 Regency. It is a beautiful mammoth of a vehicle that was the pinnacle of engineering, safety, and luxury when it was sold new. The vehicle was originally my great-grandfather’s police car. It raced down the road with its 455 eight cylinder carbureted GM motor catching motorists as they speed by. However, as time wore on the Olds hung up its siren and CB radio, it just wasn’t able to keep pace with all the safety and technology that was coming along in vehicles, not to mention police cars. It has been handed down in my family over the years and is currently mine. It has been well maintained and these days it spends its time as a Sunday driver. I take it out on the open road and enjoy the ride, remembering all the times I rode in it with my Dad. I have a wonderful nostalgia for that car.
I feel the very same for the Augusta County Courthouse building. It is a beautiful piece of history that I hope will live on as a part of the Staunton City skyline. However, on November 8th, a mature decision needs to be made when it comes to the function of that building.
Since 1901 the historic courthouse has provided an honorable service, but as with all things its useful time has come to an end. With wisdom and forethought we must acknowledge that all things have a finite usefulness. The current historic building lacks central air conditioning, lacks many of the current security requirements necessary and prudent in today’s courts, it doesn’t have easy handicap access, has little parking, and doesn’t allow for the privacy and security necessary for clients, witnesses, prisoners, judges, staff, and the jury. Just as the decision was made to retire my great-grandfather’s police car, the decision needs to be made to retire the current historic building as a courthouse. It doesn’t mean the end of the building, just its function of our courts.
I am proud of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors and their vision for the future for the Augusta County court system. The new proposed complex not only addresses the issues of the historic building, but also the many issues that also exist with the court building across the street from the historic courthouse. The new complex will serve the citizens far into the future with the ever expanding needs of our county.
I would ask all voters to vote YES and trust the local leaders you elected to make the best decision with the funds you send to the county in taxes.
As a former supervisor on the board, I can say that I have nothing but the utmost respect for the folks who currently serve, no matter how they feel about this issue. I know their motivations come from a genuine desire to serve the men and women they represent. I can say without hesitation that the decisions they have to make preoccupy their minds to such an extent that they research and study issues with veracity before coming to a decision.
The decision to move forward with the referendum that is now before you didn’t come lightly and didn’t come quickly. I wish to extend my deepest thanks and appreciation for their service.
Please take the time to study this issue for yourself and make a mature and informed decision.
David A. Karaffa
Background on the Augusta County Courthouse issue: