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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2007
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Products Mart shows interest in arena
Authority in talking stages about purchase of Priceville facility, chairman says

By Sheryl Marsh
smarsh@decaturdaily.com 340-2437

There's talk about the State Products Mart Authority of Morgan County buying Celebration Arena at Priceville.

Also, there's talk about who might manage operations if the authority buys it.

Edward Monroe, chairman of the authority, said at this time it's just that — talk.

"We have talked about it but we haven't consummated a deal yet," Monroe said. "We need to get a little further into it. We have to get a survey, an appraisal, and they haven't even approached us with a price. There are a lot of unanswered questions."

Monroe said a decision about the deal is probably a year away.

The County Commission authorized Chairman John Glasscock to confer with officials of the Racking Horse Breeders Association of America concerning operational costs of the facility.

Judy Jones, president of the association, said she heard that Products Mart is interested in the arena.

She said she has communicated with Glasscock.

"We've exchanged a couple of letters back and forth, and that's all we've done," said Jones.

"I've heard that Products Mart has talked about it, but I don't know that for sure. It would really be a good thing for the county because you could utilize it for lots of other things and it would bring a lot of money."

The authority owns the land off Beltline Road Southwest where the annual county fair is held and there has been concern that if it bought the arena, the fair would move from the current spot.

Glasscock said that's not true.

"It's my understanding that the people who handle the fair have been told that would not be the case," Glasscock said.

State law created Products Mart in 1965 and its purpose is to promote agriculture in the county.

The authority has more than $1 million from a land sale at the fairgrounds.

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