TROY — Nearly a week and a half after council approved to authorize the purchase the Huelskamp Farm, located on North Piqua-Troy Road for $1.5 million, city staff has deemed the house and barns “impractical” to house the park department.
The Huelskamp Farm, adjacent to the Paul G. Duke Park will nearly double the size of the city park. City staff stated the majority of the farm’s cost will be offset by nearly $1.1 million in potential grants.
Public service and safety director Patrick Titterington notified council on Aug. 10 that park superintendent Jeremy Drake, another park staff member and a county building inspector recently walked through the home and barns. Titterington emailed council to notify them that the current conditions of the homestead were “not a very practical long term solution for the park maintenance staff.”
Titterington stated the city plans to place the home and barns — on 2. 5 acres for sale — to offset the costs of a new pole barn at Duke Park for the park’s department’s future use.
“Therefore, since the rest of the property continues to be very valuable as a future recreational/park setting as we’ve discussed previously, the mayor and I feel that going forward with the purchase is still in our best interests,” Titterington said Aug. 10. “I will be signing the purchase agreement later this week and our consultant will begin analyzing, drawing and estimated the costs of completing a complex.”
On Aug. 12, Mayor Michael Beamish stated, “In my estimation this land purchase has great potential as an addition to Duke Park and for a future recreational complex for the city. To me, this is one of our top priorities! Any surplus not used for recreational purposes could be used down the road for potential sale and/or development. Again, the key point is that this purchase allows us to expand Duke Park for a future recreational complex.”
In response to the news, council member Robin Oda stated, “Patrick, I would think this walk-through had been done before purchasing the property and making the pitch to council for purchase. I would have very much appreciated this perspective prior to council’s approval. I know that the property was the first concern, and we are happy to have secured the property, but you were so confident that we would also be using the house and barns. This feels a bit after-the-fact.”
Council member Bobby Phillips stated he was not opposed to the potential sale of the homestead as long as the city takes advantage of the sale.
“The other possibilities of future City use or a tear down are both viable as far as I am concerned,” Phillips said. Phillips stated he understood the land was priority during council’s vote on Aug. 3.
In another email, Titterington restated,”Again, the structures were not ‘key’ to the recommendation, just a possible extra benefit. Selling that parcel should accomplish the same objective by capturing more revenue to then be able to build a new facility for parks maintenance.”
The Troy Daily News asked Titterington and Mayor Beamish in an email why the property wasn’t thoroughly inspected prior to council authorizing its purchase.
“The house and barns are not the reason that we bought the property: the acreage is,” Titterington said. “An inspection wasn’t possible with the timing of the negotiations, deadlines, and the consultation with the council.”
Titterington stated the cost of a new pole barn would be $200,000 to $250,000. Titterington said the construction of a pole barn, is “not an absolute necessity in the short term” unless the second sheet of ice at Hobart Arena were to move forward.
Titterington stated that a variety of factors deemed the homestead impractical to house the parks department.
“A variety of little things, for example, the barn doesn’t have a concrete floor because it is a cow barn to herd cattle and feed into the basement, the bathroom of the house is on the second floor, etc.,” Titterington said.
No estimates of costs were provided at the time of the inspection.
Titterington stated it is too early to estimate what the city of Troy will list the homestead for sale. He said the appraisal for the property’s homestead was approximately $260,000. Titterington said city staff commissioned the appraisal in May.
The city anticipates to receive grants for the park’s purchase in the coming weeks. MSA Sport was awarded the contract for design of the Duke Park expansion. Council authorized the contract last winter. The contract was for $30,250, which includes “renderings and cost estimates related to future ballfield complex, including parking, concessions, groups of ballfields, interconnectivity to existing Duke Park, and utility extensions,” according to Titterington.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews