Fair hopes to survey need for grandstand

By Patricia Ann Speelman - pspeelman@aimmedianetwork.com

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Agricultural Society (fair board) has asked the Shelby County Commissioners to cover half the cost of a feasibility study that would determine the need for a new grandstand at the Shelby County Fairgrounds.

During the fair board’s Sept. 16 meeting, members voted to pay $6,500 of the $13,000 price tag on a survey to be conducted by JMH Development, of Cincinnati, and to ask the county to pay the rest.

Fair board secretary Jerry Schaffner told the Sidney Daily News Thursday that he was not sure when he would get an answer from the commissioners, but he expected it would be soon.

“(JMH Development) has been doing this for 27 years,” Schaffner said. “They helped get a whole new fairgrounds for Holmes County and they got money for Columbiana County.”

Local officials had hoped earlier this year that a $500,000 state grant would be available, but the legislature cut program funding to a tenth of that.

In other business, the fair board:

• Approved filing for nonprofit status with the Internal Revenue Service. Ohio’s county fairs for years had been using the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s nonprofit status in order to operate as charitable organizations, which permitted them to accept donations and exempted them from paying sales taxes. The state recently lost its nonprofit status through a technicality. While it is reapplying, Schaffner said that it has recommended that each county get its own 501(C)3 IRS approval, to eliminate any such occurance in the future.

• Approved applying for July 24-30 as the dates of the 2016 Shelby County Fair.

• Approved applying for Ohio Fair Funds for harness racing purses and track maintenance.

• Decided that the draft horse show will be on Wednesday morning of the 2016 fair.

• Heard a report by Dan Giese concerning his recent meeting with representatives of Amos Memorial Public Library, local flower clubs, the city of Sidney and the Shelby County Soil and Water Conservation District concerning refurbishment of the Community Foundation Community Hall building at the fairgrounds. The organizations rent space in the building during the fair. Geise reported that estimates of proposed work will be needed to determine how much of the work can be done in advance of the 2016 fair and that the organizations had said they would apply for grants to help cover the costs.

• Discussed whether or not rules are already in place for the Junior Fair concerning special needs youth who compete in livestock shows. Mr. and Mrs. Ted Poeppelman attended the fair board meeting to bring the issue to the board’s attention. They asked that rules in place for the Ohio State Fair by instituted in Shelby County. They were advised that they could make that suggestion to the Junior Fair, which would consider it during the Junior Fair annual meeting Oct. 24 and that rule change suggestions had to be submitted by Oct. 1.

By Patricia Ann Speelman


Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824. Follow her on Twitter @PASpeelmanSDN.