Board to vote in March on sale of former Ford County sheriff's residence, jail

PAXTON — Barring any unforeseen issues, Ford County Board members expect to vote in March on the sale of the historic former sheriff's residence and jail on the courthouse square.

Board members voted 12-0 this week to allow Chairman Rick Bowen to hire "outside legal counsel" to review a proposed contract for the sale. The Paxton Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving Paxton's past, submitted the proposal in late January to buy the aging complex and the ground it sits on for $10.

The board got its first glance at the proposal during an overview committee last week. During that meeting, the board suggested a few additions and changes to the contract with Royce Baier, the foundation's president.

On Monday, Baier said he had the foundation's attorney, Bob Martensen of Paxton, worked in the proposed changes, and he said, "I think we covered all but one."

One change to the contract is that if the foundation ever were to disband or opted to sell the building, the ownership of the building and the land it sits on would automatically revert to the county. The original proposal only required the foundation to give the county the first option to buy back the property if it were to be sold by the foundation.

Another change is that the foundation would not be able to change the zoning of the property from its current R-3 (multi-family residential) zoning without approval of the county board.

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