By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
The Madison Fiscal Court agreed Tuesday in a special-called meeting to purchase a historic building in downtown Richmond.
The building, known as “the Old Creamery,” is located at 103 E. Irvine Street and was built in the early 19th century. The building originally was used as a place where local farmers brought bring milk to be processed and sold. It also once served as the Richmond Post Office.
“It’s been for sale for about two years, but the price was just astronomical,” said Madison Judge/Executive Kent Clark. “They wanted what we felt like was two- or three-times what we thought it was worth.”
The building was purchased at an auction Saturday for $110,000. Clark asked Tuesday for the court’s permission to make a 10-percent down payment.
All magistrates voted in favor of the purchase except for Roger Barger.
“I got up about 3:30 this morning tossing and turning, thinking about what to do,” he said. “The property is worth the money, but I just don’t think we need to purchase it at this time.”
Barger said the building, which is about 3,000 square feet, would be torn down and turned into a parking lot.
“The traffic is going to keep getting worse downtown and parking is going to be harder to find,” he said.
However, Clark said a decision had not been made on how the property would be used.
The Old Creamery is profiled in “Madison County Rediscovered,” a local survey of historic structures published in 1988 by the county’s historical society. The boundary of Richmond’s historic district lies on the other side of the two streets from the building, and its alteration or demolition would not be subject to approval by the city’s Board of Architectural Review.
A purpose for the land will have to be voted on by the fiscal court at a later date, Clark said.
“Last Friday, I saw that the sale was Saturday morning,” Clark said. “I took it upon myself and sent Duane (Curry, the county’s planning and zoning director) to bid for the county. The bid came in at $100,000 and we bid $110,000. I know that the previous owner paid $270,000 for it. I think it was a huge bargain for us. I called the magistrates and left messages for some, talked to some on the phone, I never met with any of them because I didn’t think anything about it until Friday.”
Magistrate Billy Ray Hughes said he was glad to see the county purchase the building.
“I’m glad to see that we didn’t let it get away from us,” Hughes said.
• Local physician Dr. Paula Maionchi warned the public about this year’s aggressive flu strand.
“It has rolled into Kentucky with a vengeance,” she said. “This is a very vigorous flu season. I urge all those who have not been immunized to get immunized. This is not going to be a quiet flu season.
• Clark gave an update on the Madison County Courthouse Annex that was struck by a vehicle earlier this month, causing damage to an exterior wall.
“We’re going to be able to get the same kind of brick,” said Clark, who initially was concerned the county would not be able to purchase stone that was an exact match. “The window wasn’t broke, it just snapped back into place. The hardest thing is going to be getting behind the stairwell to do the drywall.”
The next meeting of the fiscal court is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at email@example.com or 624-6608.