Canadian County officials voted Monday to spend $1.25 million to purchase 50 acres of land that will be developed into a new fairgrounds complex.
The property, owned by Steven Jensen, is located near the northwest corner of the intersection of Jensen Road and Alfadale Road just outside of El Reno.
The decision followed an 80-minute executive session of the county’s Public Facilities Authority.
The county will offer to pay $25,000 per acre for the 50 acres with a 10-year option to purchase additional property at the same price. The purchase can be seller financed.
The panel unanimously approved a motion to present the offer to Jensen.
Under the proposed agreement, which will be presented to Jensen by District 2 Commissioner David Anderson, the county will offer $25,000 per acre for 50 acres. The county will have the option to purchase the adjacent 50-acre tract at the same price if the purchase is made within the first three years.
After that time, an appraisal will determine the fair-market price.
If the property is financed through Jensen, the county will pay about $10,000 per month for the 15-year term with the interest rate set at prime.
The proposal does not include a prepayment penalty.
The payments will come from money generated by the county’s use tax. That fund generates approximately $150,000 per month, said Authority Chairman Jack Stewart.
The land can only be used as a fairgrounds complex or something similar, according to the motion that was read by the Authority’s attorney, Gabe Bass.
The agreement also calls for a 60-day inspection period during which the county can withdraw its offer.
Closing is expected to occur within 10 days of the end of the inspection period.
The location, which is about a mile east of U.S. 81 on the south side of Interstate 40, has been the No. 1 proposed site for a new fairgrounds complex. It is one of two proposed sites for the complex, which was recommended last year following a feasibility study.
The other site is near the Canadian County Children’s Justice Center on land already owned by the county.
While the Jensen property is not in El Reno, Mayor Matt White said Monday the city would have not concerns about annexing the property if the county makes that request.
Currently, the county fairground is on about 14 acres inside the El Reno city limits. The feasibility study indicated the property was too small to handle a proposed expansion of the complex.
The fairgrounds have been on the same site for more than five decades.
The study had indicated that because the current site is land-locked, a new site would be needed. The study recommended that a new site be at least 140 acres to handle future expansion.
Daniel Pugh, who is an Independent candidate for District 3 county commissioner, has asked the members of the Authority to hold off on making any decision on the property until after the Nov. 6 election.
Members of the Authority also are the county commissioners. Two of whom, Stewart and District 1 Commissioner Marc Hader, are facing opponents in the election.
Stewart said there is no need to wait.
“Why wait? We’re progressing down the trail. We are not trying to ram-rod this through. We are trying to get this process done. There is no reason to wait until after the election. This is how the process works,” Stewart said.
Assistant District Attorney Tommy Humphries, who serves as the county’s civil attorney, said any decision made by the Authority would eventually need to be approved by the county commissioners.