LISBON - A piece of property on state Route 45 that has been in the Bill Davis family since the late 1950s will change hands soon, and the recent dismantling of the old Phat Cat drive-through was a step in that process.
Davis said he and his four living brothers agreed to sell the property after the passing of their mother Doris in 2008. Their father, Jack, purchased the property with Doris sometime in the late 1950s and transferred it to his sons in the 1980s. He passed away in 2005.
Bill Davis currently lives in Georgia and his brothers live in Arizona. Another brother, Bob Davis, passed away in 1969.
Davis said that due to living out of state it is becoming more difficult to manage the property.
With the blessing of his brothers, he began looking for interested buyers and contacted Columbiana County Fair Board member Robin Houlette after someone showed an interest.
He said he reached out to Houlette to see what the cost would be to remove the Phat Cat drive-through building and a smaller outbuilding, and Houlette asked if it would be possible for the buildings to be donated to the fairgrounds.
After consulting with his brothers, Davis agreed to the donation.
He said the 42- by 70- foot drive-through was removed since the potential buyer wants the piece of property where it was located.
He did not wish to disclose the identity of the buyer since the sale is not final at this point.
The roughly 32- by - 32- foot back building will be moved later.
Davis said the back building is too large to be moved along the road, so it will possibly be moved on a trailer through the back field to the fairgrounds once the ground hardens.
Houlette said the drive-through building could be used as a new commercial building at the fairgrounds and the smaller outbuilding will likely be placed near Gate D, and could be the new home of the grounds maintenance department.
During the 2012 fair, commercial vendors and government booths were housed in a tent on the site of the former Rabbit and Poultry Barn. They were formerly housed in the old Floral Hall, and Houlette said the move was done in the hope of drawing more traffic to the vendors.
The current grounds and maintenance building is located beneath the old Floral Hall.
Houlette said Gate D will also be the future home of the steel bowstring-arch bridge currently sitting on the county Engineer's Office property. The bridge, which used to span the Middle Fork of the Little Beaver Creek on Lisbon's South Market Street, will connect the fairgrounds' northern end to the campground.
Davis said the drive-through building could be reassembled at the fairgrounds sometime this year or next.
He is pleased the buildings will remain a part of community and sees the donation as a "way to give back" to his and his parents' hometown.
Only a portion of the roughly 2-acre property along state Route 45 is being considered by the potential buyer currently, he said.
He and his brothers hope the remainder can be sold in the future.
"We are trying to be a little bit selective in who we sell it to. We want it to be for the good of the community," he said.
When originally purchased by Jack Davis around 1957, the property was first a used car lot and gas station. The Davis family moved to the Wooster area in the early 1960s, and the property was leased after that.
Davis said his father constructed the smaller back building in the late 1970s and the drive-through building, first called Rasul's Beverage Barn and later Phat Cat, in 1988.
The drive-through had not been operational for some time prior to it's dismantling this week.