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Retirement center slated for Pioneer Village site

JACKSONVILLE ­ The prospective new owners of Pioneer Village planto replace the defunct Western-town attraction with a retirement center.

The buyer is Farrington Centers Inc., a partnership including Jeff Chamberlain,a Jacksonville investor and retirement center developer. Former Rogue Valleyresident Paul Williams also is a principal.

Chamberlain said the first step is gaining acceptance from the neighborsand a zone change from Jacksonville. Part of the 4.7 acres is zoned forcommercial use; another part is a planned unit development.

He did not disclose the price. The seller ­ McUne family corporation,Pioneer Village Inc. ­ was asking $585,000 for the site in 1994.

The family, including Ron McUne, general manager of the Britt Festival,owned and operated Pioneer Village for 24 years.

It was a replica of a late-1800s town full of authentic pioneer buildingsand antiques. Among the 20 or so buildings stood a barber shop, jail, miner'scabin and blacksmith shop.

The village also had a restaurant, presented melodramas and offered trainrides before it was closed in 1985 with a huge auction.

Donald Rowlett, owner of Box R Ranch, bought most of the historic buildingscollected by George McUne, Ron McUne's father.

Chamberlain said the terms were settled about a month ago, but the transactionis contingent on gaining city approvals for the development and has notyet closed.