LANCASTER — Garrard County officials are investigating uses for a recently purchased 5-acre plot of land in Lancaster.
The Fiscal Court approved the $20,000 purchase of the land off Baker Avenue and Doty Lane in a 4-1 vote this week, in which Magistrate Doan Adkinson was the sole dissenting vote.
Now, a new animal shelter, emergency operations center and road department storage are all being discussed as possible future fixtures on the property.
Judge-Executive John Wilson said county officials discovered the land was for sale while looking for potential locations for the new animal shelter for which they recently received a $100,000 grant.
Most magistrates opposed Wilson’s original idea to place the shelter at the fairgrounds in Camp Dick because the deal required the county to refinance the fair board’s $183,600 loan by dipping into the county’s hugely unpopular hospital debt service fund.
Magistrate Joe Leavell also repeatedly expressed concern that the fairgrounds lie too far from Lancaster for people to easily visit the proposed shelter.
But the land the county purchased this week sits within the Lancaster city limits and offers enough space for multiple uses.
“We intend to move some of the road department assets out there,” Wilson said. “We are looking for land for the animal shelter, and we are looking for land for an emergency operations center … I can definitely say that this land will be considered for both things.”
The current emergency operations center is located in the back of the Garrard County Emergency Medical Services building on U.S. 27 in Lancaster, and the animal shelter sits near the Garrard County convenience center on Hanging Fork Road off Ky. 52 west of Lancaster.
Though both agencies have nearly outgrown their current locations, Wilson stressed that the only certain use of the new land is road department storage, which will have some natural security by virtue of the “out-of-the-way” property.
The location of the land also benefited the county because it makes it difficult for commercial development, which likely contributed to its low selling price, Wilson said.
He said the county should decide this winter exactly how to use the land. But, for now, officials are grateful to have room for some much needed expansion.
“We’re bursting at the seams now, and we barely have room in town that meets our current needs,” he said. “Our responsibilities have grown, but our assets as far as land have not.”