Agriculture Society Chairman Frank Reinhard informed Delaware County commissioners that his organization willingly supports the idea to accept the county-owned parts of the fairground.
Commissioners are considering to release ownership of nine parcels inside the fairgrounds to the Agriculture Society because of concerns of being named in a liability lawsuit if a person was injured on the properties.
“We appreciate the opportunity to be good stewards of the land,” Reinhard said at a commissioners meeting Thursday morning.
Commission Vice President Jeff Benton highlighted his concerns about the property transfer and the conditions attached. The fair board is not to mortgage or sell the parcels; use the properties for the wrong purpose; and keep costs from the real estate process at a minimal.
The transfer will also include a stipulation that the parcels would return to county ownership if the fairgrounds were relocated.
“At least to my knowledge, there’s no intent to move the fairgrounds,” Reinhard said.
He said the properties were already being used by the Society. The location of the parcels will come into play in the future as the Society will work with commissioners to develop a “grander entrance” off of U.S. 23, he said.
About half of the Society’s 21 board members were present at the meeting to show its support. The fair board still has to vote on accepting the county’s fairground properties.
In other business, Delaware City Manager Tom Homan gave a presentation about the proposed increase of the city’s income tax rate from 1.85 percent to 2 percent to pay for updates to the city’s transportation infrastructure. Council has yet to vote to put the proposal on the ballot for the fall.
Homan said it’s a consequential issue that needs to addressed in a sustainable way.
“The existing condition of our roads — many of of them local roads — is getting worse and worse,” he said.
He highlighted the city’s proposed priority projects including improvements to The Point, the intersection of Routes 36 and 37. For that project, the city would establish four-lane capacity below a new railway structure, including pedestrian access on both sides of the roadway.
Commission President Barb Lewis said county assistant prosecutor Aric Hochstettler advised them that commissioners cannot take a position on the issue, but can as private citizens.
Lewis, a Genoa Township resident, said she supports the plan and that Homan’s presentation was informative. Commissioners haven’t discussed the city’s proposed transportation plan, she added.
Brandon Klein can be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.