Brookville City Council members Tuesday night approved ordinances needed to bring the Montgomery County Fairgrounds to the city from downtown Dayton in a multi-million dollar deal.
“We are doing what the people want to be done out here because they came out in full force, especially at the last public hearing,” said Margo Cantrell, Brookville’s vice mayor. “Everybody was in favor.”
Not everyone. Councilman Mike Duncan cast the lone dissenting vote.
Duncan said he opposed the location at the Northbrook Industrial Park.
“Not against the fair. Not against the fair board. I just don’t think it’s the right area,” he said.
In December, members of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society Board voted to move the nearly 38-acre fairgrounds from its South Main Street location to the industrial park located off Arlington Road.
The move, including the land, will cost up to $13 million, according to Alan Schaeffer, real estate attorney for the agricultural society.
In January, the agricultural society entered into a two-year purchase agreement with Miller Valentine Group for the existing fairgrounds.
The agreement called for Miller Valentine to help the agricultural society find a new location for the fairgrounds, according to Eric Joo, partner and vice president of development for Miller Valentine. He said it took the company and members of the agricultural society six months to narrow down their search to the Brookville site.
“Miller Valentine is paying $15 million for the (downtown) fairgrounds site,” Schaeffer said.
“We have a vision of an urban mixed-use development that will include residential, retail, office, grocery store, maybe a cinema, some hotels,” Joo said. He added that the existing fairgrounds site is one of the largest areas within the city of Dayton that has potential and space for development.
Two months ago, the Brookville Planning Commission recommended that council approve the ordinances. The first amended the zoning code for a new permitted use in the Light Industrial District and Highway Service District for governmentally owned or operated parks and recreation facilities like a fairgrounds. The other ordinance rezoned a portion of the proposed property from General Industrial District and Highway Service District to Planned Industrial District.
Council delayed a planned March vote until Tuesday
Duncan said that because the two ordinances were passed as emergency measures, the city’s charter prevents the citizens from taking action that could repeal the ordinances.
“I know that there are a lot of citizens out there that are against this project, but they are not the type to come up to a meeting and get up and talk,” Duncan said.
Joo said the agricultural society wanted to move to Brookville because to bring fairgrounds events closer to its customers.
“The people who attend fairs that show horses, who participate in a lot of their agricultural events, are out in more rural areas,” Joo said. “Over time, they had lost the following of a lot of those customers that are interested in what they do.”
The Dayton Daily News has provided extensive coverage of the proposed move of the fairgrounds from Dayton to Brookville and its effects on both communities.