$25,000 grant received to explore future uses of Renwick property

by | Dec 22, 2017 | Around Town

From City of Fredericksburg

The City of Fredericksburg and Fredericksburg VA Main Street Inc. have received a $25,000 grant to explore future re-uses of the former Renwick courthouse complex in downtown Fredericksburg.

The 2018 financial feasibility grant was awarded by the Virginia Main Street organization, which is part of Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development.

The grant funds will allow the City and Fredericksburg VA Main Street Inc. to study potential uses of the former Renwick courthouse complex at 809-817 Princess Anne Street. The 0.75-acre complex includes three separate structures, the most-prominent of which is an 1852 courthouse designed by renowned architect James Renwick that was vacated when the City opened the new Circuit Courthouse down the street three years ago. The complex also includes a former library building and a former jail.

The historic complex is now mostly vacant, and the City of Fredericksburg and Main Street want to see it brought back to life. The grant will help the organizations explore potential uses that will respect and preserve the complex’s rich history. The report is expected to identify gaps in the current Fredericksburg economy that could be filled by the Renwick complex. It will answer the question: “What can these buildings become to bring an increased vitality to downtown?”

“Virginia Main Street agreed with the outcomes of the project you proposed and believe that the Renwick Compound Study will be the catalyst to the revitalization of the property,” stated the letter formally approving the grant.

The feasibility work is expected to start this coming spring following the release of a Request for Proposals and the hiring of a consultant to perform the work. The feasibility study will include opportunities for community input, and is intended to give the City a strategic plan to move forward with determining the future of these important buildings. The ultimate goal would be a reuse and redevelopment project that contributes to downtown vibrancy.

“Determining what to do with the historic Renwick courthouse is one of City Council’s top priorities,” said Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. “It is a jewel of a property located in the heart of the Main Street district, and it should once again be a vibrant and vital place. We are so grateful for the recent grant and applaud the work by City and Main Street staff that made this possible.”

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