Old Amherst Baptist Church Could Be Torn Down

Amherst Co., VA - A debate continues to brew over the future of a 129-year-old church in Amherst County.

The county bought the landmark eight years ago and is now considering a plan to tear it down. This issue comes down to an argument of community progress versus historical preservation.

Renovating the church for county office space would take just as much money as building a bigger brand new facility in its place.

John Thomas sees the historic church every day.

"It's kind of old but it's a church and I respect churches," said Thomas.

He can't imagine it not being around.

"I don't mind seeing it. I've been seeing it this long so wouldn't mind seeing it a little longer," said Thomas.

But it could soon come down.

"Consideration for improvements to the church have been discussed as well as demolition," said David Proffitt, deputy county administrator .

County leaders are expected to decide its future in the next few weeks.

"The issue is unresolved at this time," said Proffitt.

As you might expect, the local historical society is making a case for keeping the building as is.

"These are the type of things that people look for when they want a place with that old town ambiance," said Holly Mills, Amherst County Historical Society director.

Mills says its antique gothic design is unique, and it would be a shame to knock it down.

"Anytime you tear down a building of that significance and age, you are removing something from the community that can not be restored to it," said Mills.

Thomas agrees saying he enjoys the view.

"My opinion is I'm not tired of looking at it," said Thomas.

County leaders will meet in two weeks to discuss plans for the church. They say structure is still solid, but the wiring and plumbing are all outdated and would need to be replaced.