County Takes Ownership of Comer Barn

County Executive Anthony Holt gave three committees of the county commission some unexpected news Monday evening.

The county now owns the Comer Barn.

"We are now the proud owner of the rock barn there on Nashville Pike," he said. "It was a long process, but you can't beat the price - it didn't cost us a nickel."

The Rogers Group gave the deed over to the county; the deed is for the barn and the right-of-way to the barn.

"I'm excited about it and I hope we can make it an event center," Holt said. "We have a feasibility study going on right now...and I think it will be something that will draw tourists (with special events)."

But, it may cost taxpayers some money.

"It's in bad repair," Holt admitted. "We've probably got another year or two to stabilize it. The roof is what is in really bad repair."

However, the fact the county now owns the property instead of leasing it for $100/year may help.

"The grants we were looking at to fix that place, we couldn't get because we didn't own it," said District Five Commissioner Baker Ring of Gallatin. "We had a lease, but they were saying, 'Well, you don't own this location, so we're not going to grant you the money,' so this will make it a lot easier to get grants."

Holt agreed.

"It makes it a lot easier to have different avenues to try to refurbish that building to attract tourism to the county," he said, "and we are applying for grants that are now made available to us because we now own the facility."

Holt went on to thank the Rogers Group for their help.

"Rogers Group is a good corporate citizen, and I think they understand the importance of it being timely," he said. "It can't sit there another 10 years...because the roof is now gone and the weather is taking an effect on the structure of the building."

But the historical preservation is important, as is the location.

"It would be a terrible icon to lose," Holt said, "and the accessibility of that building is just incredible because you're basically right off 386."

Article Courtesy of The Gallatin News by Josh Nelson