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Board begins process to improve courthouse lawn

The front lawn of the Prince Edward County Courthouse may soon receive a new look after the Board of Supervisors agreed to fund a plan to make the space more inviting to the public.

County Administrator Doug Stanley said the county has a preliminary plan from Land Planning and Design Associates in Charlottesville that includes the installation of a new plaza and walkway, benches, lighting and flagpoles. The board approved the funding of a final design for the project.

“The Prince Edward County Courthouse and its front lawn represent the most prominent public space on Main Street,” Stanley wrote in a memo to the Board of Supervisors. “The county has not done a good job of developing and maintaining the space. The space has the potential to be a public gathering spot, a place for people to come together and celebrate, to remember the past and to practice their rights to assemble.”

The memo said the bricks in the current plaza are uneven and could be a tripping hazard. The gravel pathways are a maintenance problem because the gravel washes onto the sidewalks and the brick columns along the front are crumbling in places.

“To date, we’ve not done a great job of developing and maintaining the space,” Stanley said.

The total cost of the project is projected to be between $101,000 and $109,000.

“The chain link and the columns kind of tells the public to stay off the courthouse lawn,” Stanley said. “Here we have the ability to invite them in and bring them onto the lawn.”

The project will be part of the county’s capital improvement process. Stanley said he hopes to begin the project in the fall and have it ready by next spring.