May 4, 2021
$5 million funding for Ashe Street Courthouse included in FY 2021-2022 budget
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee announced last week the passage of the Fiscal Year 2021-2022 budget, which included $5 million in funding for the renovation and repurposing of the Ashe Street Courthouse.
The 110-year-old building, located on the eastern side of the West Walnut Street corridor, was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Ashe Street Courthouse is a key part of the City’s master plan for the area.
“The Ashe Street Courthouse is a landmark that has served East Tennessee for generations,” said Gov. Lee. “As we celebrate 225 years of statehood, I thank the local leaders and members of the General Assembly for their partnership in preserving this historic building that will continue to strengthen downtown Johnson City.”
Constructed in 1909, the building was first used as a federal post office. It was later utilized as the Washington County Courthouse and then as Washington County’s 911 Center until 2017. The building, which has sat vacant since, will be repurposed as an incubator/accelerator for rural health research business opportunities.
“This is a great development for Johnson City and the West Walnut Street Corridor,” said Johnson City Mayor Joe Wise. “The Ashe Street Courthouse is a historically significant structure, and this funding helps us preserve and position it for its highest and best use. We appreciate the commitment and support of our state legislators and Gov. Lee, who prioritized this redevelopment project.”
The state’s investment in the project is an important step as the City, County and private sector continue to invest in the revitalization of the West Walnut Street Corridor, a mile-long connector that runs from the core of downtown Johnson City to the ETSU campus. The master plan for this area outlines an ambitious, yet achievable strategy that, once complete, will enhance the City’s ability to recruit new businesses, create an ecosystem for high tech entrepreneurship, further bring the university into the community, establish a rural health incubator and become the region’s southern gateway to outdoor recreation, entertainment and tourism.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with the City of Johnson City on a project that is as special and beneficial as the Ashe Street Courthouse,” said Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy. “The renovation of this county-owned building and the redevelopment of the West Walnut Street corridor will enhance our region and benefit citizens and visitors alike.”