By Carol Vaughn — Parksley held a double celebration Friday, June 10, and Saturday, June 11, marking five years of having a DMV Select office in town as well as the completion of extensive renovations to the building that houses both the DMV and town office.
The building, the former Fulton Ayres Produce Grading Shed, was built in 1920. Ayres donated it to the town in 1992.
The building, in addition to the town office and the DMV, also houses the gift shop and artifact display area for the Eastern Shore Railway Museum.
Ayres, who died in 2003 at age 86, was a produce dealer and served as Clerk of Court for Accomack County for 24 years.
The restored building includes a room with displays of old photographs, historic documents, and other artifacts from the town’s history, including Ayres’ desk and the town’s last remaining hitching post.
Parksley was founded as a planned community in 1885.
Mayor Frank Russell at Friday’s event welcomed Barry Browning, statewide director for Virginia DMV Selects, among other dignitaries.
Parksley has the only DMV Select office in Accomack County. (Onancock has a DMV Customer Service Center.)
“It has been a blessing to our town. It brings a lot of folks into our town,” said Russell, adding, “The guys and gals from the DMV have been wonderful to work with.”
“This partnership is just amazing,” Browning said of the Parksley office, adding that the renovated office “is one of the prettiest DMV Selects that we have.”
The Parksley DMV since it opened has processed more than 50,000 transactions and brought thousands of dollars in the revenue to the locality, according to Browning.
“We notice the work that you do,” he told the staff and officials.
Russell recognized staff Lauren Lewis, Emily Belote, and Courtney Chapman for their excellent work.
Russell also thanked the volunteers, including among others Councilman Henry Nicholson and former Councilman Mark Layne, who worked long hours and even paid their own work crews out of their pocket to keep down the cost of renovating the building.
“The work, the planning, the design of this office would not have happened without a very modest man named Henry Nicholson,” Russell said.
The town held an open house Saturday for members of the public to tour the renovated building, view artifacts, and enjoy refreshments.
Renovations to the museum portion of the building are in the works, with around $27,000 of the amount allocated to the project remaining.
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