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Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Land buy expands fair site

By Pat Royse
Mercer County commissioners purchased 20.7 acres of land due west of the Mercer County Fairgrounds during their regular session this morning.
The property owned by John Mark Speicher sold for $6,500 an acre or about $134,550.
Commissioner Jerry Laffin said the land could be used for additional parking if some event was proposed for the fairground that needed additional space. There are other possible uses, as well, he said.
Commission Chairman Bob Nuding said the land would be purchased with money the county recently got from the sale of the former county administration building on South Main Street in Celina.
There is only 150 feet of frontage off Market Street (Mud Pike) between a private house and Machine Pro Technologies, but that area could be used as an entrance to parking. A gate could be cut at some spot in the existing fence for entrance to the fairgrounds, Laffin said.
Until a formal use is decided, the commission will likely rent out the land for farming.
County Auditor Mark Giesige said the commission had the money, and it was a really good price for the land.
"It is logical. Fairground use has been picking up over the last few years," he said.
The purchase price and the money from the administration building sale are real close.
When the land first was on the market several years ago, a purchase would have required commissioners borrow money to buy the acreage. The sale of the administration building for $130,000 in January supplied most of the money to seal the deal this time around.
The purchase arrangement was handled by the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office.
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