City of Paris gives away $650,000 worth of property to investment group planning distillery

Photo by: Ron Garrison, Lexington Herald-Leader
Photo by: Ron Garrison, Lexington Herald-Leader(WKYT)
Published: Jan. 10, 2019 at 6:46 PM EST
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Stoner Creek Golf Course is essentially right in their backyards, but these neighbors say there’s no way they saw this move coming.

On Dec. 28, the Paris City Commission voted unanimously to give a 47-acre golf course, free of charge, to an investment group that is interested in building a distillery on the property.

The deal went down just days before the city’s outgoing mayor Mike Thornton and two city commission members left office.

The contract between the two parties shows that the investment group does not have to pay the city for property unless it fails to build a distillery within three years of the zoning change for the property.

This all comes after the city bought the property in October 2018 for $650,000. Some residents who live on the golf course previously filed a suit against the city alleging it had improperly approved the zoning change for the golf course. If the zone change is reversed, the investment group can return the property to the city.

Neighbors who filed the suit say they’d rather see the property stay a golf course, but that they’re not against economic development in the city. They say their main objection is that this whole process has been shrouded in secrecy.

"We still have a lot of questions and a lot of concerns on how the outcome's going to be,” said John Vance, Wyndamere Homeowners Association President.

The homeowners association is due back in court Feb. 5 for the next hearing involving the lawsuit.

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