County approves chamber’s move to third floor of courthouse PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 10 January 2018 09:28

With the Circuit Court’s move to Jackson Street, there is vacated office space in the Washington County Courthouse.

Washington County Chamber of Commerce Director Tara Kritzer approached the county council and county commissioners last week seeking approval to utilize that space.

Kritzer’s request was to use the office space and conference room to the right of the top of the stairs on the third floor of the courthouse.

The space, she said, would be the office for the chamber and within that space there would be room to house information for the public from the Washington County Tourism Board.

The champber currently has a desk located in one of the offices in city hall and Kritzer said she and the chamber board agree that it makes sense for the move to take place.

“Since the chamber represents the entire county, we think we need to be in a county building,” she told the commissioner’s at their regular meeting on January 10.

Kritzer said the tourism board and the chamber will handle the cost associated with decorating the office and conference room space.

She also thinks having her office in the courthouse will help bring some foot traffic into the historic building.

The council had no official say, but did give their blessings for Kritzer to ask the commissioners for permission to make the move.

The commissioners didn’t see any issues with the move, but did encourage Kritzer to work with the Auditor’s office to make sure any changes that are made would fit the overall flow of the building moving forward.

The commissioners decided they would not charge the chamber for use of the space and Kritzer expressed an interest in getting the move started, as soon as possible.

The commissioner’s also voted to allow the county to be included in any negotiating that is to be done with the abandoned railroad tracks.

The county receied notice in November of CSX’s plan to abandon a stretch of track from New Albany to Bedford that runs through Washington County.

The deadline to file to be included in the discussion or negotions as to what will happen to the vacated tracks is January 18.

The commissioner’s voted to be part of that discussion.

City Attorney Drew Wright was present at the meeting and said the city plans to file a similar motion and there has been some discussion and interest in turning the abandoned rails to trails.

The recent vote does not obligate the county nor the city to do that, but it does allow for that to be part of the discussion, according to Wright.

The biggest obstacle, according to those county officials who were willing to speak on the record at public meetings is the cost associated with the upkeep of the rails.

“If they are abandoned, and we take them over,” said Commissioner President Phillip Marshall, “we will be the ones responsible for the upkeep.”

The commissioners also received information for the county’s 2018 insurance and there was only a slight increase over the 2017 cost.

The commissioner’s next public meeting will be Tuesday, January 16 at 9 a.m. in the meeting room at the government building located on Martinsburg Road.