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Garrard farm brings more than expected at auction

May 09, 2004|JIM LOGAN

LANCASTER - The Garrard County farm, which served the poor and homeless for decades, brought $481,800 at auction Saturday. Divided into 26 tracts, the 147-acre property was snatched up by a dozen different buyers.

The farm was offered as a whole starting at $485,000 after the individual bidding, but there were no takers.

County officials, who had expected the farm to bring between $350,00 and $400,000, will invest the proceeds and use them to make payments on Garrard's $4.295 million debt to the Kentucky Association of Counties. KACO arranged a $4.5 million loan in 2001 in an effort to save the county's hospital, which closed last summer.

The most expensive tracts went to farmer Larry Reece, who already owns 711 acres adjacent to the farm. He paid $38,000 a piece for two tracts totaling 20 acres.

Reece, however, guessed wrong on what 25 acres next to his property would bring and saw Jim Minteer of Danville get the three tracts for $25,500 each.

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"I was gambling he wouldn't get that much for it," Reece said.

Jeremy and Rachel Ballard of Berea knew what they wanted and got it. They bought four tracts totaling 28 acres fronting Poor House Road for $21,000 a piece.

Rachel Ballard, a registered nurse, said they hadn't decided what they're going to do with the land.

"This is our first farm property we've bought," she said.

Mike Condon, a home builder in Lancaster, knows exactly what he'll do with the two tracts he paid $9,000 a piece for. He'll build homes on each and market them to city people as country escapes. The tracts, one nearly 2.8 acres and the other 2.45 acres, front Perry Rogers Road and back up to second-growth hardwood forest.

"The Lexington crowd loves those woods," said Condon, who plans to build homes of about 2,400 square feet.

The auction prices were also subject to a 7 percent buyer's premium, which is the amount added to the winning bid.

Reece considered buying the farm as a whole, but said that extra 7 percent would have taken the price to about $519,000.

"That's just too much to pay," he said.

County Attorney Jeff Moss said the final plat for the farm should be approved at Monday night's Fiscal Court meeting.

"We could gets deeds (for the new owners) done next week," he said.

Because the farm sold in tracts, the county will pay to install water lines along Poor House Road. Property along Perry Rogers Road already has county water.

The auction, which was conducted by Danny Ayres Auctioneers, also included a 3,507-pound tobacco base, which went for $1.80 a pounds. Also, 1,400 tobacco sticks brought a penny apiece.



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