Danville buys fairgrounds for $790K

Published 5:57 pm Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Danville announced Tuesday it will buy the Boyle County Fairgrounds property.

The city is purchasing two tracts of land off the bypass from Boyle Land Trust Inc., “commonly referred to as the Boyle County Fairgrounds,” City Attorney Stephen Dexter announced after an executive session Tuesday afternoon.

The 30-acre property is costing Danville $790,000, in a sale to be closed this Friday. Dexter said the city has agreed to “a few facility use requests” arranged by Boyle Land Trust.

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For the next three years, the 4H/FFA Investment in Youth Sale will still get use of the land, and the Boyle County Fair will still be held there in June, through 2021.

Dexter said it’s also included in the agreement that the city is not required to keep the property in its current condition and layout, and that “the seller’s footprint for occupancy for events, being the fair and the 4H sale, may be slightly altered due to construction of a roadway or other capital improvements that the city may bring to the table.”

Dexter said in the event that the space is no longer suitable to operate the fair during the agreed upon timespan, the city will help find an alternate location.

City Manager Ron Scott said the purchase “benefits the public at this specific time.” He said due to the $30 million construction of the new Boyle County Middle School on Cunningham Way, the school system has allocated up to half a million dollars for constructing a roadway.

The new road, Scott said, will facilitate safety and access for first responders, “to avoid the congestion that will otherwise occur. The purchase will allow us to save half a million dollars that we would have had to incur as local taxpayers to build a necessary road.”

Scott said the purchase had been discussed for more than six months, “with the thought that we could combine efficiencies and save taxpayers money, in terms of utilizing the funds the school will make available for this.”

He said the purchase falls in line with recommendations from the master park plan comprehensive study, which recommended the city acquire land adjacent to Millennium Park, “in order to consider implementation of some of the … capital programs contained in that study.”

No money is being borrowed for the project, as the city is purchasing the land out of capital reserves — “a legitimate purpose that we save up for in order to maximise the efficiencies of our operations,” Scott said.

Commissioner Rick Serres said Millennium is “our premier park, and we need to expand those limits if we can,” that the space right now is getting “pretty tight.”

Mayor Mike Perros thanked city staff for its hard work. “It’s been an interesting journey and the kind of transaction I personally like to be in. It’s a win for the school system, students and parents, and a win for the fair — they’ve had that property for sale for a period of time. And a win for taxpayers, with access to the half million dollars. Not a bad deal.”

Dexter thanked Dr. David Williams, the president of Boyle Land Trust, for “his guidance … He does it for public service and not any private gain. His involvement to help to seal the deal, so to speak, was critical.”