JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – After months of discussion between Washington County and the City of Johnson City, the historic Ashe Street Courthouse was officially transferred to new ownership on Monday.

The building, which was originally constructed in 1910, served as the community’s bank and post office before becoming the Washington County courthouse in 1940. Until 1985, it served as the central hub of law and government in the county. After that, it became the home of Washington County’s 911 Communication center until 2017.

Washington County Mayor Joe Grandy and Johnson City Mayor Joe Wise stand in front of the Ashe Street Courthouse. (Photo/City of Johnson City)

Now, with the formal transfer of the deed to 401 Ashe Street from Washington County, the building is under the ownership of the City of Johnson City. Perched at the end of a long stretch of development projects downtown, the city hopes to renew the courthouse’s interior and create a new space for local projects.

“The Ashe Street Courthouse is a key part of the City’s master plan for the West Walnut Street area,” said city manager Cathy Ball. “This local landmark will become the anchor of the downtown end of the redeveloped West Walnut Street, serving as a place to cultivate businesses along that stretch.”

Part of that redevelopment is a $5 million appropriation from the State of Tennessee for a rural economic development program. Before long, city officials said proposals will be requested from the public as well.

Several plans are in the works to bring the building back up to modern standards, including early work to repair the roof, remove asbestos and clear the interior. An addition built on to the side of the courthouse in 1965 will also be removed, opening a space for ADA-compliant entrances accessible from West Walnut Street.