Extension project presses on

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By Robin Bass

The Spencer County Extension service is one step closer to having bigger and better facilities following the district board’s vote Monday night to approve a land survey.

“We’re at step three of 76 steps to getting something built,” said Bryce Roberts, Spencer County’s agricultural agent. “But the wheels are turning and that’s a positive.”

Roberts said the process of selecting a site has taken two years. In that time, the current building located behind Settlers Center in Taylorsville has failed to keep up with the growing demands of the county.

The last time the extension council engaged in a construction project was six years ago when $200,000 was spent to add a meeting room to the existing building.

During recent extension council meetings, members have expressed a desire for not only a larger building, but more parking, meeting rooms of different sizes, an exhibition area, library, classrooms, and even a community garden or walking trail.

At Monday night’s meeting, the district board approved the extension council’s recommendation of examining a plot of land located behind Old South Plantation off Mt. Washington Road/KY 44 West. Turnpike Properties, owner of the land, has offered to subdivide anywhere between 10 and 40 acres depending on the needs of the extension service. The price per acre ranges from $15,000 to $20,000 depending on the amount purchased.

At a meeting last November, members saw a presentation of what a possible structure would look like if built on a piece of property behind Country Mart. The display prompted council members to dig deeper into other, more affordable possibilities throughout the county. A strategic planning committee was formed and given the responsibility of reviewing a variety of available property in the county and selecting three alternatives.

“The way it turned out, all three choices came down to the same piece of property,” said Extension Council President Jerry Eye, referring to the committee’s recommendation to study the purchase of 10, 15 or 25 (or more) acres at Old South Plantation.

Roberts said the next step will be hiring an engineering firm to survey the land and decide what will best suit the extension service needs. If all goes well, said Roberts, “I would hope that we would have something built within the next couple of years.”

When that day comes, Eye said he would like the extension council to consider building an environmentally-conscious structure.

The Spencer County Extension service has amassed $1 million from local taxes. Of that amount, plans are to spend up to $500,000 just in the purchase of land. The rest, along with possibly a loan, is intended for construction.

Residents are assessed a current rate of 3.43 cents per $100 on real property and 3.11 cents per $100 on motorcraft and vehicles. Personal property is taxed 17.82 cents per $100.

Eye announced last week that he is stepping down as president of the extension council. Vice President Gene Hoene will serve as interim until a new president can be selected.