The passage of two zoning ordinance changes by the Brookville City Council on Tuesday night paved the way for the Montgomery County Fairgrounds to relocate there, but some involved with the project say there is still a lot to do before the move can take place.
Tuesday night’s vote would have taken place two weeks ago, but Brookville City Council tabled it until they could secure funding for a road extension through the fairground.
"We just all decided that it was an important enough project not to let the road hold us up," says Eric Joo with Miller-Valentine, the company contracted to build the new fairgrounds.
According to Joo, the Montgomery County Agricultural Society will pay 50% of the $800,000 dollar road. Brookville and the current property owner will split the rest.
On Tuesday night, Councilman Mike Duncan's "no" vote on the ordinance changes left the council with a 5-1 vote for passage.
Brookeville Mayor Dave Seagraves was absent from the vote due to medical reasons, but Vice-Mayor, Margo Cantrell said Seagraves would have been the sixth "yes" vote.
Cantrell says the ordinances were passed on an emergency vote because of several delays in just getting the council to this point in the process.
Councilman Duncan has told media outlets that he believes Brookville residents should have been able to vote on the fairground’s move, but Cantrell didn’t believe that was ever going to happen, and that the support of residents is there.
“We held multiple public hearings, and we held two of them in the high school auditorium, which allows for a considerable amount of people to attend and be seated,” she said.
The last public meeting was held four weeks ago, and the vice mayor says, “At that public hearing, we listened for probably two hours, and then some, from people who had comments about the anticipated fairgrounds facility and there was not one negative comment. Everybody was in support of this to take place.”
She believes the new fairgrounds will thrive in Brookeville.
Still up in the air - the estimated $18 million dollars needed for the purchase and development of the old, "mid-town" site next to Miami Valley Hospital, and the construction of the new Brookville site.
Eric Joo with Miller Valentine says they're close to finding the money, and construction and move dates reported in the media are only estimates.
"Before I can start building the midtown project, I've got to build them a new fairgrounds," he said. "We've got a lot to do for that to happen."
Until then, Miller-Valentine is looking at potential occupants for the mid-town site. The plan is to build a mixed-use, "walkable" development with 300 to 500 residential properties, grocers, a cinema, and maybe a hotel or two," according to Joo.