Lebanon considering buying county fairgrounds land for fire station

Lebanon City Council is weighing whether to buy a corner of the Warren County Fairgrounds for a new fire station and future use as a police station.

The purchase would leave city property at 511 N. Broadway, also considered for the new fire station, for a proposed $15 million apartment, townhome and restaurant development.

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“The site concept is currently being revised and an updated concept will be discussed again at council’s upcoming work session. More detailed information about the economic impact of the project, and the anticipated city investment, will also be provided at this meeting,” City manager Scott Brunka said.

“At this time, the project is still very conceptual and city council is determining if they would like to enter into negotiations for a more detailed development agreement,” Brunka said.

Also tonight, the council is expected to discuss buying from the county six acres — where a home built in 1910 now stands — for $210,000.

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The city and county have been at odds over the splitting of $3 million set aside for redevelopment after racing businesses moved from the fairgrounds to the racino outside Lebanon. Recently, officials have acknowledged the two governments were working together.

A fire-facility study presentation for the Lebanon council ranks three locations, including land across Broadway in Colonial Park West, in addition to the fairgrounds and city properties.

While continuing “quality response” downtown, where the current station is located, the study also was designed to find the best location in recognition of “high call volume” and “plans for future growth” on Lebanon’s north side.

It focused on the short-term goal, securing a location for a new fire station, but mentioned remaining land could be used for “possible future expansion” for the police department.

“There are no plans to construct a 2nd building in the near future. The city wanted to ensure that the property being purchased could support future public safety facility expansion in the future should there be a need,” Brunka said.

The fairgrounds land is recommended for the fire station, although the city development “will need to preserve access back into fairgrounds property” behind the land to be purchased and the city already owns the other two parcels under consideration.

RELATED: Warren County seeks options for fairgrounds project funding

Warren County is building a $3.4 million event center north of the land to be purchased by the city where grandstands were demolished. The projects have been slowed by cost overruns and prompted pleas by county officials for support from the city.

RELATED: Warren County Fair to host another year without event center

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