EATON — Preble County Commissioners on Monday, March 22, accepted a bid of $65,000 from the Preble County Art Association for the 2.145 acres of land upon which the association’s former art center building sits, located at 601 Hillcrest Drive.
The property has been at the center of much debate since the PCAA renovated and moved into its new location in downtown Eaton.
At the heart of the debate was the county commission’s ownership of the acreage upon which the facility sits, but the building itself is owned by the PCAA. A lease agreement for the property has been in effect since 1990.
“We are very excited to have come to this stage of the process,” said Claudia Edwards, PCAA Executive Director. “It’s been a long time coming, though it was not without hurdles.”
According to the lease, “if the building to be constructed on the leased premises is used by the lessee other than for the purposes set forth herein, or if the lessee suffers any violation of any building code then in effect in the City of Eaton, Preble County, to remain uncured for a period of six month from date of notice of same, or should lessee abandon the leased premises, then this lease shall be deemed terminated and of no further force and effect, and any buildings erected on the leased premises by lessee shall become the property of the lessor.”
The PCAA offered past commissioners the opportunity to purchase the building from the organization and had also said it was willing to buy the two acres on which the building sits so it could be used for additional art purposes or be sold to another entity so the proceeds could be used to enhance the new Preble Arts operation on Main Street.
Newly elected Commissioners Rachael Vonderhaar and Adam Craft decided to move forward with the bidding process for the sale in early January.
Edwards said the PCAA is looking forward to listing the property for sale, and that the PCAA already has parties interested in the property.
“This allows us to be debt-free with our new building and gives us a step toward sustainability for the Preble County Art Association,” she said.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr