courthousesouthbridge-featureby Anne Finlay-Stewart, Hub Editor

The deal is sealed, the $10 cheque is cashed, and the old 1853 Courthouse and jail are the property of a private corporation for the first time in 162 years.

The Courthouse was sold once before to a developer in 1985 while the jail was still in use. That deal fell through, and the city made some repairs and leased the building to the Grey Bruce Arts Council, which in turn rented out office space and studios.

Flash forward thirty years. Priorities for the city have changed, and staff and council decisions reflect a different  vision.

The timing of the May sale to Southbridge Care Homes is not insignificant. Our sources say that there was a previous offer from Southbridge, during the term of the former city council. It may have been one of the two mentioned by former city manager in a July 2014 radio interview. Presumably it was for more than $10, but that remains in the minutes of an in camera meeting as do the reasons it was not successful.

OwenSoundCourtHouse-feat-by Anne Finlay-Stewart

The old Courthouse, jail and 1.3 acres of land on 3rd Avenue East has been officially sold to the Southbridge Care Homes division of Southbridge Capital for $10, tax included. The sale, announced in mid-May, closed July 30.  A staff report on the sale is headed to city council Monday.
The 1853 building has served many purposes over its 162 year life – Courthouse for the County of Grey, the site of the inaugural Owen Sound council meeting, police headquarters, home of the Grey Bruce Arts Council, a performance space, offices and studios. Most recently, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery held a public meeting at which the Courthouse was named as the preferred site of an expanded gallery, made necessary in part by the need to move storage of the collection out of the basement to meet insurance requirements. In their detailed business plan, the Gallery listed the benefits to the city of that site choice beyond the adaptive re-use of the building, including "re-vitalizing a near-core neighbourhood that needs transformation". The  City would be left with assets, the plan said - "two saleable properties: the Rice House and the current Art Gallery, together worth considerably more than the asking price for the Courthouse."

In his report on the Courthouse sale prepared for Council, Manager of Economic Development Steve Furness said that while there was no direct financial gain in the sale,

council-feature-by Jon Farmer

In the absence of the Hub's Editor, I sat in on Owen Sound council and made the following observations:

The majority of councilors arrived dressed down to look cool in the heat. I've never seen so many delightfully ugly shirts on elected officials.

•First the City Council checked its mail:

goodsexchange-featureThe second of three Goods Exchange Days for 2015 will be taking place on Saturday July 25. It's like a City-wide Free Yard Sale.

Goods Exchange Day is an enjoyable way to divert usable items and materials from landfill disposal. It is also a great way to get rid of unwanted stuff without the hassle of having to put on your own garage sale.

We ask that City residents...

strategic-plan-button-featureThe City of Owen Sound Council has approved a new 2015 Strategic Plan: 2020 Making Our Vision Clear.

Lura Consulting was selected last November to assist the City in the development of a strategic plan, and for the past eight months, City representatives have been asking community members 'what you love about Owen Sound', 'what your vision is for Owen Sound', and to prioritize the City's future.

On July 20, 2015, Council approved the final draft of the City of Owen Sound's 2015 Strategic Plan. "This Strategic Plan is a blueprint that will help guide Owen Sound's decision-making on programs, policies and community investments over the next five years," said Mayor Ian Boddy. "It embodies the long-term vision, mission, and goals of Owen Sound's residents and businesses, which are important to the future development of the City. I am proud of the fact that close to 800 people provided input to this Plan."

The Strategic Plan identifies four primary focus areas

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