The city of Crawfordsville is expected to soon turn over the fairgrounds property to Montgomery County 4-H Inc.
On Tuesday, members of the Ordinance and Petitions committee of the Crawfordsville Common Council gave a favorable recommendation to a proposed resolution that outlines the transfer of approximately 14 acres at 400 Parke Ave. from the city to 4-H Inc.
“To most people’s surprise the city of Crawfordsville owns the fairgrounds,” said Mayor Todd Barton. “That goes back beyond anybody’s recollection.”
Over the years, the city has had a lease arrangment in place with the non-profit corporation so that it could use the site for its agricultural, educational and recreational purposes.
“The fair board has reached a decision that they want to fix up the fairgrounds,” Barton said. “They want to do some things there .... What’s really happening is they are pretty hamstrung because they don’t own the property. They are not eligible for most of the grants because they are not the owners.”
Barton said he and 4-H Inc. members have been in talks for the past few years, and the consensus of their board is that they want to make improvements to the site.
“I really can’t think of a reason for the city to want to continue to own it, other than making sure the wrong thing doesn’t happen there,” Barton said.
As part of the proposed resolution, the city has built in some revisionary clauses, meaning 4-H Inc. would need the city’s approval to sell or give the property to someone else. Without that approval, the property would be returned to the city.
“I think it’s the right thing to do, putting it in their hands so they can start making some substantial improvements to the property,” Barton said.
The proposed resolution received a favorable recommendation from the committee and will be forwarded to the full council for consideration Monday during the council’s regular meeting.
State code requires the full council’s approval because the value of the real estate exceeds $50,000. Once approved, the resolution would give the Crawfordsville Board of Public Works & Safety the authority to dispose of the property.