Chairman defends commission’s land purchase

St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Chairman Allen Balog said he owes no apology to anyone claiming the county overpaid for a piece of land developed this year into a park.

Furthermore, Balog said the allegation that the county was too generous in its purchase price because it was bought from a former county employee is wrong.

Balog’s statements stem from an issue raised at last week’s commission meeting, and center on the county’s September 2015 purchase of land developed this year into Covered Bridge Farm Park. The six-acre parcel is in Lockport Township, on the north shoreline of the St. Joseph River.

The property, a house, barn and outbuilding were included in the sale, which was made with former finance director Joni Smith. The county provided parks and recreation the $330,000 to complete the sale.

Balog said the county took three different appraisals and accepted the one in the middle. He said the offer was made in as fair of a manner as possible.

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