NOTE: Sussex Beat is a mix of news, analysis and commentary by Eric Magill, publisher of Sussex County Online.
You could call it ultimate victory for defenders of the Brick Hotel in Sussex County.
Over the weekend, Delaware Governor Thomas R. Carper signed Senate Bill 283, officially allowing the state to swap the historic Brick Hotel on The Circle in Georgetown for another site on The Circle owned by the H.P. Layton Partnership.
A new Sussex County Court of Chancery building will be built on the land acquired through the deal. The legislation was sponsored by Sen. Thurman Adams, D-Bridgeville.
"This is an ideal solution that preserves the Brick Hotel and at the same time keeps the Court of Chancery in the center of the Sussex County seat," said Gov. Carper. "The Brick Hotel has long been a hallmark of the Georgetown Circle and, with this agreement, future generations will continue to enjoy its historic beauty."
The state originally purchased the Brick Hotel last year for $650,000 with the intention of demolishing it and using the site for the new Court of Chancery.
That decision raised the hackles of historic preservationists in Sussex County, who mounted a campaign that included a petition, an official song, and protests.
Following those sentiments, Gov. Carper directed the Department of Administrative Services to develop an alternative plan.
The new Court of Chancery building will house the Supreme Court chambers, the Court of Chancery, and the two Chancery-related county row offices -- the Register in Chancery and the Register of Wills.
The Chancery facility is part of a 3 1/2-year, $13 million program of new construction and renovation to provide quarters for the Sussex County judiciary. Administrative Services previously purchased the Sussex County Courthouse and the Courthouse Annex from Sussex County and will completely renovate those properties.
The Brick Hotel dates to 1836 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. Most recently, the building house a Wilmington Trust Branch office.
U.S. Rep. Michael N. Castle (R-Del.), on President's Day recess, will address the Georgetown, Nanticoke and Western Sussex Rotaries Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2000, at noon.
Castle will take questions and discuss his new budget plan, the recently passed tax relief, and the need for President Clinton to include beach replenishment funding for the Delaware beaches in his FY2001 budget.
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