A potential $2 million project may come to downtown Washington with non-profits moving into the Smouse House. At Tuesday’s Washington County Board of Supervisors meeting Washington Chamber of Commerce Director Michelle Redlinger announced a plan for the Chamber to pursue the possibility of buying and preserving the house at 321 South Iowa Avenue, “We have been researching the possibility for over two years. And have hired a structural engineer to give us a report over a year ago. We’ve done an environmental hazards report. The hope was that would be a tool for someone else to purchase and rehabilitate the building. And since no one has stepped up, we have looked into it a little bit further for it being a project for our organization. And we feel like we can renovate the building, and we can do it using grant funding. And we can turn it into a building for the community.”
Redlinger explained that any decisions would be weighed upon the majority of the Chamber’s membership. The building formerly housed restaurants and has sat vacant for about seven years. The building would then house the Chamber, Main Street Washington, and WEDG, and potentially other non-profits. Main Street Washington is working with the Chamber on gathering information and identifying potential grants. Approximately $3 million in applicable, potential grants have been identified so far.
Redlinger said it’s in the early stages, but there will be informational meetings held this fall. She hopes to see a countywide welcome center at the location. Supervisor Richard Young said he’s hopeful, because the vacant brick building is “an eyesore.”