Commissioners discuss Extension Office location

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — During a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 27, the Preble County Board of Commissioners continued a discussion regarding the County Office Building and moving the Preble County Extension Office, after realizing there may be more options for the Extension Office than they previously thought.

During a previous meeting, commissioners discussed a proposal which would allow Preble County Development Partnership (PCDP), Preble County Chamber of Commerce, and Preble County Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) to share space in the building. However, this would mean finding a new location for the Extension Office or finding room for it within the building.

One current proposal would swap the Preble County Extension from the north side of the County Office Building to the south side of the building, where PCDP is currently located.

Commission President Rodney Creech was in favor of the proposal as a short-term solution until Preble County Extension could eventually be moved to the Preble County Fairgrounds. However, Commissioner Chris Day was more interested in a long-term solution and thought it necessary to move Preble County Extension out of the County Office Building entirely, so that building could be viewed as a “professional” building.

During theprevious meeting, options were discussed including moving Preble County Extension to the current Chamber Building, which is a rental building, or constructing a new building for Preble County Extension on the Fairgrounds.

Creech noted, they are currently working on raising funds for the Expo Expansion project and are not having much success, so it would be hard to raise money for another building.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 27, Creech brought the discussion back to the table.

“We need to figure out where we’re going to put [Preble County Extension]. Switching sides isn’t going to work. There isn’t enough space to do that,” Day said.

Creech countered, “Measurement-wise there is.”

He added, they’ve been talking about this consolidation for years and he wants to start making it happen, even if it is just a short-term solution.

“I agree with you, Chris [Day], it’s not ideal, but we’re not going to be putting a building up anytime soon. We can’t even finish the one we have. We need to get these three [offices] under [one] roof, for many reasons, I believe. I like the idea of having that meeting room in the back — we don’t have a good meeting room,” Creech said.

Day replied, “If you’re going to make that a good, professional-looking building, they just have to be out of the building. That is my opinion — if you’re going to have an evening meeting there and they’re having 4-H meetings, running up and down the hallways.”

Creech said he has never seen that happen in the building yet, since Preble County Extension is already located in the same building as PCDP.

Day asked him where he sees Preble County Extension ultimately located.

“In a new building at the Fairgrounds,” Creech responded, but added, they’re already trying to raise money for the Expo Expansion project.

Day responded, “You might find it easier to raise money for this.”

He also mentioned Eaton Community Schools Superintendent Jeff Parker had previously told him they may have a building Preble County could use for Preble County Extension.

“Superintendent Parker [said] they have space up there where their offices are at, that they’re not utilizing. I think we need to just look around,” Day said.

Commissioner Denise Robertson added, “If we can get a semi-permanent place for them to be, with no deadline to it, just, you can stay here indefinitely until we can do something at the fairgrounds — that is the ultimate solution.”

“I don’t like that idea to swap [sides]. I’m just saying, let’s do something. I‘d rather do something than nothing at all,” Creech clarified.

Robertson and Day agreed the current Chamber Building might be an option as well, but Creech was concerned the building and parking lot is too small.

“We need to look at these [options], maybe take a day and walk around to look at these,” Day said.

Creech agreed, “If we don’t look into something, we’re not going to find it. I just want to look into it.”

“I would rather have a long-range plan. I’m not crazy about the swap,” Robertson said.

“I still think we need to come up with a plan for the Fairgrounds, because, ultimately that is where it needs to be,” Day said.

The board agreed to look into the various options for Preble County Extension Office and discuss at a later date.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH