City to seek bids for Duke Park farm

TROY — The city of Troy will seek bids for the farm lease for the former Huelskamp farm, which is adjacent to the Paul G. Duke Park.

On Monday, the Community and Economic Development Committee reviewed the report that stated the former lease agreement expired. A new lease agreement will seek a contract to farm the 69 tillable acres for three years along with the potential for two one-year extensions. The recommendation will be reviewed by Troy City Council at its next meeting on March 15. The city will advertise for bids for the lease once approved by council.

According to Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington, the former farmer paid $225 per acre. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, $139 per acre was the average rate to rent cropland in the United States, a dollar lower from 2019. The average rate per acre for irrigated cropland was $216 (down from $220 in 2019) and non-irrigated cropland was $126 (down from $127 in 2019).

In 2016, the city of Troy paid Paul and Jill Huelskamp $1.5 million for the 118-acre farm for its land and buildings. The Miami County Park District purchased 40 acres of the property with the use of a $288,000 Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant. Those 40 acres are now in conservation for river and water protection along the Great Miami River. The city also received $300,000 grants each from the Paul G. Duke Foundation and The Robinson Fund to purchase the property.

Titterington said there are no plans in the works at the present time to expand Paul G. Duke Park. The city previously attempted to pass two park levies to offset the cost of developing the land to add baseball and soccer fields. In 2019, voters turned down the 10-year 1.2-mill property tax that would have added an 18-hole miniature golf course and a splash pad along with baseball and soccer fields at Duke Park. In 2017, voters rejected a 0.25 percent 10-year income tax for improvements to the park, as well as the city’s golf course and added a second sheet of ice at Hobart Arena.

Last November, Troy’s Community Improvement Corp. (CIC) announced it would seek realtors to sell the house and outbuildings from the Huelskamp Farm.

City council OK’d the transfer of the homestead to the Community Investment Corp. to authorize a realtor to sell the property on behalf of the city. The city attempted to sell the property on its own but was unsuccessful. The home and outbuildings are located on the Huelskamp Farm homestead at 2290 N. Troy Sidney Road north of Duke Park. The property is on 1.447 acres. The CIC has tapped Kurt Beisner of EB Real Estate to list the property next week. According to Titterington, the asking price will be $235,500.