Old Countryside site may still be available to county - Watertown Daily Times Online : News

Old Countryside site may still be available to county

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 12:04 pm

JEFFERSON — Jefferson County is getting another shot at the purchase of the old Countryside Home property for possible relocation of its county highway department headquarters.

The county learned in recent days that, what it thought was a done-deal for the sale of the property to another party, had fallen through.

This morning, with that knowledge, the county’s infrastructure committee came out of a closed session to announce that Jefferson County Corporation Counsel Phil Ristow and Administrator Gary Petre should pursue a counter-offer on the property made at the last meeting of the county board. If the seller of the property, McFarland State Bank, approves the offer, Ristow and Petre are to construct a resolution for the October county board meeting authorizing them to enter into a purchase agreement.

The cost of the property is $200,000 and the county is including contingencies that the property be rezoned by the city of Jefferson to allow it to be used as an industrial site.

Petre said after this morning’s meeting that he also believed that the infrastructure committee’s motion of today included a acceptance date for the deal to be set at Oct. 11. The county board meets to discuss the matter Tuesday. A vote would likely follow.

Petre said this morning it would be difficult for anyone to understand the context of today’s infrastructure committee decision to pursue the land purchase without witnessing what took place in the panel’s closed session. He said among those admitted to the session were all members of the infrastructure committee, himself, Ristow, and several county board members including Chairman John Molinaro.

With its recent belief that the former Countryside Home property had been sold to another party, it appeared the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors was to return to debate over whether it wanted to locate a proposed county highway department facility at Site C — county-owned land on Jefferson's southwest side near Industrial Avenue.

“We're certainly disappointed, in that we had a consensus on the board to proceed with the purchase of the former Countryside Home for use as the site for a new highway department facility," Petre told the Daily Times last week. “We spent many months discussing this without a consensus on other site options and many board members wanted to pursue this. It's too bad the timing didn't work out and that there was another party interested in this property that didn't have the contingencies we had.”

With the options back on the table, Petre said today he was “very pleased” the county has another opportunity to pursue the purchase of the old Countryside Home site.

“And at this time, it doesn’t appear that the seller is entertaining any other offers, so that is certainly encouraging,” he said.

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