Over the last five years Jeff Koons has been buying up farmland around his birthplace in Southeastern Pennsylvania near York and Harrisburg. The artist says he’s thinking about creating a foundation someday. Until then, the 600 acres he already owns is being farmed by many of the original owners. Of course, he has a weekend retreat there too. Most of the neighbors don’t mind. Koons has been paying very good prices for the land:
Since 2006, he’s spent about $9.6 million on a farmland deed collection, according to county tax records. In May 2009, for example, deed records show Koons paid $2.5 million for four parcels totaling 167 acres. Those properties are valued at $148,470, according to tax assessment data. […]
Some of the land he’s acquired, including a homestead, once belonged to his maternal grandfather, Ralph Sitler, who owned a millinery store on North George Street, he said. A one-time city treasurer, Sitler, Koons said, retreated each weekend to the 40-acre country getaway, Stone Fence Acres, where he rode horses, tended cattle and coveted the solitude.
In 1959, Sitler sold the farm. Koons was 4 years old. […]
“Eventually, we’d like to learn how to farm the land properly ourselves,” Koons said. “We’re in the process of learning. The interest is really to protect the environment and heritage. It’s a special place to celebrate and rejoice in nature.” […] “This could be something tied in with my own legacy,” he said. “We would just like to have a nice cushion around the place so we can protect it, preserve it, and have it be a beautiful place to go. Someday, possibly, this area could be part of some foundation. It’s part of my cultural history, and I’d like to continue to share it with people.”
For Artist Jeff Koons, Proposed Power Plant No Thing of Beauty (York Daily Record)