Fredericksburg City Beat

This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.

Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or

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Court orders

From Portsmouth comes news that just because a city has started down the path toward building a new courthouse doesn’t make it safe from a court order to move faster.

Here’s the Pilot’s story about how the Circuit Court judges down there have ordered Portsmouth to provide a safe and secure courthouse. According to the Pilot:

"Last year, city leaders agreed to build a new $45 million Circuit Court building across the street from the current complex and to build a new General District and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court in later phases.

The building had already been designed, but recently City Council members asked the city manager to explore cheaper options."

Fredericksburg moved its own court facilities to the top of its capital priority list after the judges in this circuit basically implied the city would be under an order like this if it didn’t act soon. Once the city started taking steps toward trying to build a new courts complex, Judge John W. Scott Jr., who died earlier this year, said several times that he’d be satisfied as long as the city kept moving along at a reasonable pace.

Now, the city is working with the Keating Development. Corp.–the development agent for the U.S. Postal Service–to move the Post Office out of its Princess Anne Street quarters and build a modern court complex there.

In other court-related news, Circuit Court Clerk Sharron Mitchell will close her office to the public at noon on Tuesdays and Thursday’s starting next week. She has told city officials the reduced hours are due to budget cuts. I’ve talked to a few council members who point out that all city offices got cut in this budget process, and most haven’t reduced the hours they’re open to the public. The clerk is an elected constitutional officer, so the council has no control over what hours that office keeps. More in the paper later this week.