Perry County Commissioners: Hocking College broke deal by trying to sell donated land

·2 min read
The Perry County Board of Commissioners is at odds with Hocking College over an attempted land sale that they say breaks a decades-old agreement.
The Perry County Board of Commissioners is at odds with Hocking College over an attempted land sale that they say breaks a decades-old agreement.

NEW LEXINGTON — The Perry County Board of Commissioners is at odds with Hocking College over an attempted land sale that they say breaks a decades-old agreement.

In 1991, then-Hocking College President John Light signed an agreement with the Perry County Board of Commissioners that donated 10 acres of land to the college across from the Perry County Fairgrounds. Two years later, the college signed off on another plan that gave it an additional 25 acres of land next to the other parcel.

The deal was if any of the parcels are no longer used for educational purposes, they would be returned to the county.

Hocking College is now trying to sell the land for commercial use, according to a May 4 complaint filed by the commissioners in Perry County Common Pleas Court.

That violates the agreement, according to the current board of commissioners Ben Carpenter, Derek Householder and Scott Owen.

Hocking College did not respond to two phone messages and an email from the Times Recorder requesting comment.

On March 31, the college released a request for proposals on 15 acres of land seeking proposals for purchase of land, the complaint states.

But the commissioners said Hocking has already demonstrated an understanding of their agreement.

A barn and some of the acreage was returned to the county in 2017 that allowed the commissioners to donate them to New Lexington Schools for its Future Farmers of American program. In 2020, more land was returned to the county, to make way for a new Jobs and Family Services campus.

"Now, Hocking College is seeking to ignore their obligations to Perry County and are attempting to sell the remaining property for 'Commercial Retail Development' for financial gain for the college," the commissioners wrote in a statement, adding that the board has made its objections known to the current college administration.

"Knowing this, Hocking College has still requested bids for the property."

The board said it will continue to exhaust all legal means in the matter, which would be for the benefit of Perry County residents.

ecouch@gannett.com

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This article originally appeared on Zanesville Times Recorder: Perry Co.: Hocking College broke deal by trying to sell donated land