Work has begun to replace the roof on the former Ashe Street Courthouse, 401 Ashe St.
Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy said the project is expected to take up to four weeks to complete. The mayor said the roofing work will address water leakage issues and to help stabilize the structure, which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The building, which was first known as the Johnson City Postal Savings Bank and Post Office in 1910, later became a county courthouse and then housed the Washington County 911 Emergency Communications District for 30 years.
The building has been vacant since 911 moved to its new location in Boones Creek in late 2017. Unless county officials find a new public use for the former post office, its ownership reverts back to the federal government.
County and Johnson City leaders have asked Gov. Bill Lee to include $5 million in the new state budget to help pay for renovations to the historic building. Lee had included the same amount in his last budget, but that allocation was removed to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Local officials have hired the architectural and engineering firm of Clark Nexsen to explore redevelopment options for the building.
The Ashe Street Courthouse’s Beaux-arts architecture was a popular style for government buildings constructed in this country between the 1890s and the 1920s.