SIDNEY – A $58,000 project to renovate the Beige Building at the Shelby County Fairgrounds was approved Wednesday evening during the Fair Board’s monthly meeting.
Bill Clark reported the Fair Board received a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture to make improvements to the Beige Building, which will include upgrades to the bathrooms, flooring, lighting and more.
“Back in January, the estimate was right at $50,000,” Clark said. “As you can see, that estimate now has increased, partially because material cost has increased a lot since then.”
The Fair Board also made some changes to the plans, which includes installing hands-free fixtures in the bathrooms. The board will be able to use approximately $6,000 in COVID-19 funds it received from the state for those upgrades.
Shelby County Maintenance Supervisor Chris Roediger said the renovations should make it easier to rent the Beige Building and possibly charge a slightly higher rate.
“We’re not repairing everything and completely beautifying it, but I think we can tweak those rates a little,” he said.
The Fair Board voted to approve the project and spend approximately $2,000 of its funds to pay the remainder of the cost.
Work at the Beige Building is tentatively scheduled to begin Nov. 9. It should take approximately two weeks to complete, Roediger said, and will need to be finished by the end of November when an event is scheduled to be held.
Fair Board President Eric Garber said there have been discussions about replacing other bathroom fixtures at the fairgrounds with hands-free models. The county is reviewing all the properties it owns, Roediger said, and will have more information next month about potentially using Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funds to renovate bathroom facilities.
In other news, Mitch Brautigam reported the Fair Board paid $4,100 in deposits to entertainment acts that were scheduled to appear at the 2020 fair. If a full fair is unable to proceed in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the board could have similar expenses next year, too.
Garber said the Fair Board will have to proceed with multiple plans for the 2021 fair – planning for a full fair and the possibility of only having a Junior Fair again.
Eugene Schulze reported not all bills have been received yet for this year’s fair, a process that probably will last into November. Any money appropriated for the 2020 fair that is left over after all bills are paid will be put toward the 2021 Junior Fair.
Matt Henman, chair of the Speed Committee, reported one horse failed a drug test during the harness racing program and was disqualified. The owner has returned the prize money, and checks have been sent to the other owners whose horses moved up in the standings as a result.
Schulze reported everything went well during the annual reverse raffle. There were 364 meals served, and the three final raffle contestants split the winnings.
Clark said there are 25-30 benches that are paid for and need to be completed by the Upper Valley Career Center. Students at UVCC are attending school part time, contributing to the delay.
Clark reported nominations are being accepted for the Shelby County Fair’s Hall of Fame. Also, he said the Ohio Fair Managers Association will have a limited convention this year.
The Fair Board reviewed updates to its constitution.
Schulze also reviewed the board’s credit card policy, which was created after it was determined during an audit that one was needed. Officers, the groundskeeper and committee chairs will be authorized users and will be able to use a card for maintenance, office supplies and fair related purchases. The card will have to be signed out, signed in, and itemized receipts will be required for purchases.
The Fair Board charged $1 for Shelby County Agricultural Society membership fees, which didn’t even cover the cost of membership cards this year, Schulze said. The board voted to increase the membership fees to $5.
Garber said the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office didn’t charge the Fair Board for its security presence at 2020 fair, which would be an $8,500 expense during a normal year. The board voted to make a $2,000 donation to the Sheriff’s Office.
Fair Board member Tim Martin said a car show will be held from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Advance Auto Parts and Walgreens parking lots in Sidney, in support of the Ty Martin Mission Scholarship. Ty Martin, the son of Tim and Allison Martin, of Sidney, was 17 years old when he died during a mission trip to Mexico in July 2016.
A fundraiser is held each year to support the scholarship, and this year it will be a car show. The Fair Board approved a $200 donation to help finance the event.
Fair board member Jason Howell said he checked with other county fairs about their auxiliary programs. He will gather more information and make a report during the Fair Board’s October meeting.
The next Shelby County Fair Board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 21.
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