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County buys another house

The Pierce County Board formalized the purchase of a third house on Ellsworth's West Grove Street Tuesday night.

This acquisition continues to implement a fairgrounds master plan, said County Board Chairman Paul Barkla. That plan calls for buying property on the south side of Grove Street as it becomes available.

On Tuesday the board agreed to pay $190,000 for the house at 364 W. Grove. The property was bought from the Charles and Mary Cain Life Estate. Mary died in 2007, and Charles died early this year. The sale was negotiated with their children.

The purchase money will come from the county's property acquisition fund.

In March 2003 the county bought the house at 372 W. Grove for $127,500 and in August of that year it bought the property at 344 W. Grove from Mike and Tracy Johnson for $130,000.

All of the properties are adjacent to the fair grounds and behind the County Office Building.

River Falls Supervisor Ben Plunkett asked for the reasoning behind the purchase and about the expected use of the Cain house.

The county has already bought the other two houses, replied Supervisor Jerry Kosin. "Why would we not buy the one in the middle?"

Barkla said that with remodeling in the Government Center to accommodate the new Aging and Disability Resource Center, the county has few options for large meeting rooms and the Cain house can help fill that need.

The house has space for meetings of groups of 15 to 35 people, said Barkla. He said the building could also be used for offices.

"There are some problems with it. I'll be upfront with you," said Barkla.

He said carpeting must be removed and the interior painted to cover noticeable odor of cigarette smoke.

The house, which was built in 1975, has been inspected and seems to have no problems otherwise, said Barkla.

The resolution to buy the house was adopted on a 14-1 vote with only Plunkett voting no.