The Fayette County Farmland Protection Board purchased the Grady Whitlock farm at public auction on April 27, 2016. As the current treasurer, I actually had the privilege of bidding at the sale and winning the auction. It was the most exciting auction bidding I will ever do.
This unprecedented action by our board had the immediate effect of preserving the Whitlock Farm for agricultural use in perpetuity; and finally ended the long years of speculating that hovered around this open space with ideas for commercial development. But, what now?
The farm certainly represents a positively prime location for many possible agricultural ventures. And the current own is, well, YOU. If you live, work, play, eat, sleep or pay taxes in Fayette County, this farm does in fact belong to you, along with everyone else in the county. So why not think about what you might prefer to see happen here.
The board has just heard results of a feasibility study conducted over this summer to determine if a project like one under way in Summers County (Sprouting Farms) will fit on the farm. The Fayette County Commissioners are most interesting in seeing the very best economic engine find its home there. The possibilities are limited only to agriculture. So why not add your own ideas to the mix before the board’s decision is made?
Does anyone out there envision a future where Fayette County would hold onto this land and lease it for a revenue stream? Or, should the county contemplate operating a community garden space where any resident could grow food?
What about donating the land to a non-profit entity who would then oversee its use? Or, shall the farm simply be offered at public sale tot he highest agricultural bidder so that those proceeds can be spent to protect other farmlands in Fayette County?
These are questions to consider while dreaming up your own ideas.
The point is, your ideas matter right now, before our decision is made and the farm finally changes hands. So let us hear from you (respond through the board’s coordinator’s email account: email@example.com), and thanks for your interest.
K. William Hauer