The Allen County commissioners have bought a 5-acre parcel after realizing it will cost less to buy the property than to hold up their end of an agreement made more than a decade ago.

The county owns 200 acres near East Paulding and Adams Center roads, which houses the Allen County Sheriff’s Department Regional Training Center and shooting range. When the county bought the land about 15 years ago, the owner, Maroke Investments, kept the 5 acres closest to the intersection.

As part of the purchase agreement, the county agreed to move a ditch that ran through the center of the 5-acre property to the back of 6227 E. Paulding Road so it would be easier to develop, said Chris Cloud, the commissioners’ chief of staff.

Cloud said officials have found that the ditch is part of a regulated drain that would be difficult to move and a costly process. The commissioners approved Wednesday a purchase agreement to buy the 5 acres for $198,000.

County attorneys and the owner are working on a settlement agreement that will come to the commissioners for approval in the weeks ahead, Cloud said.

The 200-acre property the county owns has been mentioned by the commissioners as a possible site for a new jail, but the commissioners decided Wednesday to pursue a different location.

The commissioners will leave space for future expansion of the training facility on the 200-acre property. They announced this year that a horse-riding trail is coming to the county-owned land.

A resident asked the commissioners during public comment why the sale price was almost $200,000 when the land value based on a tax assessment is $7,600. Cloud connected with residents after the meeting to explain how the sale price was determined.

The commissioners are not allowed to pay more for property than the average of two appraisals, which are based on market values. The $198,000 price tag was determined after getting appraisal amounts of $188,500 and $207,500.

The resident also asked about Robert Eherenman, who signed the purchase agreement in connection with Maroke Investments. Eherenman, a local attorney, represents the city and county plan commissions.

Eherenman’s involvement in the property’s current ownership was not discussed.