County may sell old children’s home land to township

ELIZABETH TWP., MIAMI COUNTY – The Miami County commissioners and Elizabeth Twp.’s trustees are discussing the township’s interest in buying the Children’s Home Farm from the county.

Commissioners earlier this month sent the township a proposed purchase contract reflecting a $1.2 million offer the trustees made on the more than 170 acres.

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The commissioners are considering sale of the property after the closing in late 2017 of the David L. Brown Youth Center that was located there. The land east of Troy off Children’s Home Road was donated to the county in 1877 by John K. Knoop and Jacob Knoop for use as a children’s home.

The Children’s Home was closed in the 1970s, then was reopened by the state as the Western Ohio Youth Center in the 1980s. That facility closed in 1984, the building was renovated and then reopened in 1987 as the county youth center. The name was changed to David L. Brown in memory of a former director.

The 15-bed residential David L. Brown center was operated by the county Juvenile Court for boys ages 12-18. The court closed it November because of under-use.

With the closing, the commissioners got a legal opinion that the county would retain ownership of the property even though it no longer was being used for a children’s facility. It was appraised by Harvey Plus, LLC/Harvey Auction Co. of Springfield at $1.336 million for the 171.75 acres

“Several years ago, the board met with Elizabeth Township trustees regarding their interest in the property if the David L. Brown program were to close. At that point in time, it was suggested that should the board decide to dispose of the property the township would like the first opportunity for purchase,” the commissioners wrote in the letter dated July 10.

The commissioners asked $1.7 million for the property but the trustees made a lower offer. In an email to the commission, Mary Ann Mumford, township fiscal officer, wrote, “The board discussed many aspects of the township’s goals for preserving the farmland, yet the expenses that will be incurred for the township to move forward.”

The trustees said they considered several factors. Those included the cost to tear down an existing building they said, “is sure to contain asbestos.” Others listed were “the loss that will be realized to place an easement on the land, and the 49 acres that are located in the flood plain.”


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