Board selects site for new judicial center

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By Jessica Singleton

After months of negotiation, the Project Development Board announced the new Owen County Judicial Center will be built on five acres owned by the Ford family trust.

The land is on Hwy. 127, one-tenth of a mile south from the current courthouse. The property is mostly farm land and will not require high demolition costs.

Owen County Judge-executive Billy O’Banion, the only member of the fiscal court to vote against the proposal, said he wanted to keep the judicial center as close to downtown as possible.

“The goal is to keep it in the economic center of town,” O’Banion said.

The second choice was property that currently houses a combination of the properties where Full Service Auto, Meeting the Needs Ministry and two homes are located. The board voted to reserve this property as a back-up, in case the Ford family trust property didn’t work out.

Owenton Mayor David “Milkweed” Woiter attended several of the board meetings. He said his priority is to keep the judicial center inside the city limits. Although he preferred a downtown location, Woiter said he is satisfied with the Ford trust property.

“I’m OK with this, it will all work out,” Woiter said.

Both the primary and back-up sites are within the city limits.

Before making their decision, the board studied land appraisals that outlined the value of each property. The results of the appraisals will not be released until purchase negations are complete.

The next step is for Owen County Attorney Charles Carter to begin these negotiations.

Once a deal is reached, the details of the purchase will be presented to the Owen County Fiscal Court for approval. O’Banion said the negotiations should be completed in time for the Nov. 11 fiscal court meeting.

The next meeting of the Project Development Board will be 10 a.m. on Nov. 10.