UPDATE: Kasich approves Montgomery County Fairgrounds land transfer

Montgomery County, the City of Dayton and the Montgomery County Agricultural Society have agreed in principle to a deal to sell the Montgomery County Fairgrounds to the University of Dayton and Premier Health. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Caption
Montgomery County, the City of Dayton and the Montgomery County Agricultural Society have agreed in principle to a deal to sell the Montgomery County Fairgrounds to the University of Dayton and Premier Health. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Gov. John Kasich signed off Friday on a transfer of canal lands at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds as part of a deal to sell the property to the University of Dayton and Premier Health, a spokeswoman said.

“We heard about this issue and received these documents for the very first time yesterday morning,” said Emmalee Kalmbach, a spokeswoman, “despite that, because we understand how important this is to the community, we turned this around in a day and have approved the request.”

MORE: Bizarre problem holding up Montgomery County Fairgrounds sale

Originally, officials with the Montgomery County Agricultural Society anticipated the request to transfer the land could take weeks. The Dayton Daily News first reported about the issue Wednesday.

“This is wonderful,” said Alan Schaeffer, an attorney who represents the Ag Society, on Friday. “And it could not have happened without all the great assistance we received from the state of Ohio.”

ORIGINAL REPORT

An arcane problem with old canal lands holding up the Montgomery County Fairgounds sale is closer to being solved following the signatures of two Ohio officials just hours after the Dayton Daily News revealed the issue.

Ohio Auditor Dave Yost and Secretary of State Jon Husted provided the signatures necessary to transfer old Miami & Erie Canal land as part of the $15 million deal to sell the fairgrounds property to the University of Dayton and Premier Health.

The deed now requires Gov. John Kasich’s signature.

The “Canal Land” issue became a hurdle in the multi-million deal, as the state commission with authority over the former Miami-Erie Canal property no longer exists.

An attorney for the Montgomery County Agricultural Society said the state had been working on the issue for weeks, and anticipated it could have taken several more weeks to sign off. The Dayton Daily News broke the story of the problem Wednesday afternoon, and Yost and Husted signed off on the deal within hours.

MORE: UD, Premier need more time on fairgrounds

“Dave Yost worked with us to make it a priority,” Husted, a UD alumnus and former state legislator, said by email. “I have worked on the fairgrounds issue since 1994, and I want to get it done so that UD and that area of Dayton can take another positive step forward.”

Husted is a likely candidate for Ohio governor in 2018, while Yost announced his run for attorney general in January. Husted, Yost and Kasich are Republicans.

MORE: Montgomery County Fairgrounds finally lands new location

In a statement Wednesday, UD and Premier said the organizations anticipated closing on the property in mid-April and taking possession of the land in October.

The total deal is for $15 million with UD and Premier chipping in about $5.25 million each. The county will provide a $2 million credit on the purchase if the buyers agree to retain and rehab the historic roundhouse. The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority also has a $2.5 million state allocation to contribute to the project.

The Montgomery County Agricultural Society, which operates the county fair, is moving to Arthur O. Fisher Park in Jefferson Twp.

About the Author