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Judge hits pause on removal of slave auction block

FREDERICKSBURG (AP) A Fredericksburg judge has hit the pause button on a city’s plans to remove a 175-year-old slave auction block from the city’s downtown street corner.

Circuit Court Judge Sarah Deneke has agreed to a 15-day stay of her order to remove the auction block, The Free Lance-Star reported.

Her order allows a business owner who is challenging the removal to ask the Virginia Supreme Court to take on the case.

E.D. Cole Building LLC owns a commercial building across the street from the auction block. The firm and the owner of a nearby restaurant have argued that they’ll lose business from tourist traffic if the auction block is removed.

The judge already ruled that city officials have the authority to approve removal of the block. The city had previously placed traffic cones around the block with plans to move it before the business owner urged the court to stop the city.

The judge on Feb. 24 denied the business owner’s request for a temporary injunction to stop the removal while an appeal is heard. But she allowed only enough time for the state Supreme Court to possibly intervene.

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