COLUMBIA, KY – After several months of negotiations, a land exchange agreement was finalized Friday evening between Lindsey Wilson College and Columbia Properties of VFW Post 6097 Incorporated (VFW).
Under the arrangement, the VFW transferred the ownership of the fairgrounds property located at 411 Fairground Street to Lindsey Wilson College. In exchange, the College has agreed to construct an approximately 5,000-square-foot building on 2.3 acres of land within the Green Hills Subdivision in Adair County.
VFW post commander Joe Hare says this is good for all the veterans of Adair County and surrounding counties, as well as the community and Lindsey Wilson.
“We hope to be a positive force in the community now that we are more financially secure,” said Hare. “We want to return it to the community all that we can.”
The transaction includes the relocation of the Veterans of Foreign Wars memorial monument that stands at the entrance of the property to the new location in Green Hills.
The adjacent city park will also remain open for public use.
“This agreement protects the future of the VFW and the future of Lindsey Wilson, “ said Dr. L. Dean Adams, Lindsey Wilson Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management. “The VFW will be able to continue serving its constituents and the College can consider opportunities for expansion that were not previously available.”
Lindsey Wilson is still in discussion regarding long-term plans for the property. The immediate benefit will be practice fields for LWC athletic programs and intramurals.
The fairgrounds have undergone significant improvements through the years. Lindsey Wilson is working with the Adair County Fair Association to ensure they have the opportunity to move the improvements from the property for use at their discretion.
“It’s been a pleasure to work with Lindsey. We could not have asked to be treated with anymore respect,” said Hare. “Our relationship from the time we started until today has been nothing but positive.
Lindsey Wilson President William T. Luckey Jr. says this transaction will make a positive impact on the community.
“I want to thank the VFW members for their courage and foresight in reaching this decision starting from conversations that began over 15 years ago. I believe this agreement will make a positive impact in the life of the College and this community long after we leave this earth. I also want to thank Dr. Dean Adams and Vice President for Administration and Finance, Mark Coleman for representing the college so well during our conversations. It could not have happened without their leadership and guidance.”
Luckey said the agreement is a “big step toward the future” for Lindsey Wilson College and the Columbia-Adair County community.
“Lindsey Wilson College has been a vital part of the Adair County community for the past 113 years. In fact, through the efforts of our Bonner Scholars, Camp Casey, Coats for Kids, Safe Halloween, Campus Kitchen, The Community Health Fair, our community Theatre Efforts, The Holloway Health and Wellness Center, Cranmer Dining Center and so much more, the relationship between the College and the community has never been stronger.”
The 20.3 acres of property was originally zoned as a subdivision complete with labeled streets and roads. The Columbia Fairgrounds Association of Adair County was established in March 1856 for a semi-annual agricultural fair. At least two fairs are thought to have taken place before the beginning of the Civil War. The Adair County Fair began in 1884 and is credited for a resurgence of the “fair spirit” in the region.
The agreement increases Lindsey Wilson’s land ownership to more than 240 acres which includes the A.P. White Campus, the Lindsey Wilson Sports Park and the Pines at Lindsey Wilson.