County should lease, not sell IP property

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 20, 2016

Adams County Supervisors made a $9 million gamble nearly three years ago when purchasing the former International Paper site.

The goal was to ultimately either return the land into the public domain by selling it or leasing the land to industrial prospects.

At the time of the purchase, supervisors took heat from some residents for purchasing land without a clear exit plan.

Email newsletter signup

At the time, we supported the decision for the county to reclaim the large tract of land and keep it available for economic development needs.

Two of the three prospects that put up money for options to purchase portions of land on the former IP site have fallen through due to the plummet in oil prices.

The oil price challenges that affected the would-be land purchasers have affected many, many local businesses.

But the short-term trough on oil prices should not discourage the county’s original intent — keep the property available to lure businesses to the area.

So far the county has managed to pay the note on the property without having to affect tax rates, so the investment hasn’t harmed taxpayers yet.

In time, we still firmly believe the property will generate a return for the county. We also continue to hope the county will strongly consider leasing the land instead of selling it. Leasing the property could generate an income stream that goes far beyond the repayment of the note.