HARRODSBURG — Mercer County Fiscal Court put three parcels of the county’s official history on the auction block Saturday and the downtown buildings were snatched up at bargain prices.
Though the county reserved the right to reject all offers and none of the properties fetched their appraised values, the sale of the former county clerk’s office, the PVA office and fiscal court building were all approved.
Mark Henson bought the PVA building on East Office Street for $63,500. Charles Tyree’s bid of $62,000 landed him the former county clerk’s office on Main Street across from the Judicial Center. Attorney Michael Conover purchased the fiscal court building at the center of Main Street for $80,000.
“All of them sold for less than they were appraised,” Judge-Executive Milward Dedman said. “The first two, that’s about what I thought they’d go for. I was hoping the fiscal court building would bring a little more. I was hoping we’d get $100,000.”
Only Conover has a specific plan for his purchase. He plans to move his law office down the street from 304 North Main to more spacious digs at the 4,000 square-foot 134 Main location in short order.
“I’ve been a lawyer in town for almost 50 years. I’m planning my next 50 there,” Conover said of his new purchase, which used to house Mercer County National Bank before the county took it over 20 years ago.
Tyree, who works at General Electric in Louisville, isn’t sure what he will do with the old clerk’s office, though he joked he’d probably make some serious money if he decided to immediately open up a gun store on the street level of the three-story structure that was originally built as a hotel and retail space.
“It’s a long-term project,”¿he said of fixing up the 5,500 square foot space. “I’m not really sure what I’ll do with it. It’s a nice location. I might open a business once I figure out what might fit.”
Henson, who owns Henson Carpet with wife Misty, said he thought he got a good deal on the 1,500 square-foot PVA office located just off Main on Office Street.
“It needs a little work but it will be all right,” he said. “I’ll probably fix it up and then rent it out as commercial space.”
Dedman said that he hopes the two buildings with uncertain futures will ultimately end up adding additional retail variety to downtown.
“I really hope it’s retail or some other kind of business, not just offices,” he said.
The county will use the $205,500 generated by the sales to pay down the $525,000 it still owes on the remodeling of the former Gateway grocery store into the new county courthouse where all county offices are now centrally located, Dedman said. The county originally borrowed $1.7 million for the project.
The Gateway location was initially used as a temporary home for Mercer County’s district and circuit courts, and related clerk’s offices, while the new Judicial Center was being built on the site of the old county courthouse. Those operations moved to the Judicial Center in April, making way for the county offices to move into their new courthouse, a process which was completed in September.