The Jasper County Commission has backed away from a plan to sell property in the former Medoc community after a title search on the land.

Commissioners on Tuesday voted to return checks submitted by two bidders as earnest money in an attempt to buy the property.

A title search done identified the property as land “dedicated to the public and reserved for public purpose.”

Since nothing in the title names the county as owner, the county cannot be a seller, Norman Rouse, attorney for the commission, told member Tuesday.

The land was designated as a public square for Medoc when the community was platted in just after the Civil War. Since Medoc no longer exists, a residents’ group had surmised the land was now in county ownership, and asked to buy it for use in community events.

Commissions accepted bids, and the local group bid $3,500, while $6,500 was offered by a resident who owns adjoining property and wanted to dig a pond there.

The community group was headed up by Stephen Doubledee, who said the search clears the way for members to continue to develop the property.

“We wanted to buy it to make sure it could be used by the public, but this shows that’s already how its supposed to be used,” he said. “We’ll probably plan another tractor pull.”

The group hopes to renovate an abandoned church building next to the space as a community center. They plan to organize a non-profit, and members held a tractor pull in May to raise money for the project.

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