A former building from the county Children s Home was most recently used for the David L. Brown Youth Center east of Troy. The more than 170 acres that includes the building was donated to the county in the late 1800s. STEVE BAKER / STAFF

Large Miami County property that served as longtime children’s home site sold

A property donated to Miami County in the 1800s for use as a children’s home has been sold to one of the county’s townships, whose plans are not yet known.

The Miami County commissioners on Tuesday sold the 171.75-acre Children’s Home Farm east of Troy to the Elizabeth Twp. Board of Trustees. The township agreed to buy the land for $1.2 million.

The property was the site of a children’s home followed by centers serving youth until late 2017, when the David L. Brown Youth Center for boys closed.

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The trustees recently approved the purchase, noting in meeting minutes “the board and residents’ desire to preserve farmland” and “the possibility that several houses could be built on the property.”

Commission President John “Bud” O’Brien thanked the trustees for their interest.

“I feel that property resides in Elizabeth Twp. and is best decided on by Elizabeth Twp. … and its residents,” he said. “I wish the trustees well in however they decide to repurpose that land.”

The land located 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, but 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 facility was operated by the county Juvenile Court for males ages 12-18. It was closed in November 2017 because of a decline in program use.

With the closing, the commissioners obtained a legal opinion that the county remained the owner of the land.

With that opinion, they first had the property surveyed by Brumbaugh Engineering and Surveying of West Milton. It then was appraised by Harvey Plus, LLC/Harvey Auction Company of Springfield at $1,336,000 for the 171.75 acres.

In considering a sale, the commissioners looked first to the township, which had earlier expressed interest in the property if the youth center would close.

Trustee John Ryman said the trustees “are looking at various options” but first needed to buy the property. The purchase was driven by a desire “to protect the land from a developer buying it and plopping (multiple) houses out there,” he said.

The trustees in correspondence with the county this summer said they considered several factors in making their offer including the cost to tear down an existing building they said, “is sure to contain asbestos.” Others were “the loss that will be realized to place an easement on the land, and the 49 acres that are in the flood plain.”

Contact this contributing writer at nancykburr@aol.com

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