Fair Board seeks county assistance



November 2, 2016 - 12:00 AM

Allen County commissioners were asked a second time to help fund upgrades of county fair buildings in Riverside Park on Tuesday.
Carla Nemecek, Extension agent, and Jerry Middendorf, fair board member, handed commissioners a plan that proposed spending $30,000 to $35,000 a year for the next several years — a total of $150,000 — to bring all structures up to snuff.
Some work has been done, Nemecek said, with meager funding coming from 4-H clubs and parents of members. Much more is needed, she said, including more expensive construction and replacement of such things as roofs.
The fair board has about $2,500 in hand.
The county budgets $11,000 a year for the fair, most of which goes for insurance premiums associated with putting on the week-long event as well as utility bills, averaging about $2,000.
In addition to the $11,000 from the county, the fair board also receives $2,000 from Iola’s distribution of transient guest tax proceeds, raised by motel use.
“We need to give some” money to help with the projects, said Commissioner Tom Williams, but mentioned no specific number.
Commissioner Jim Talkington was not so receptive. “I’m opposed to a flat-out donation,” he said, though would agree to public works crews helping.
Chairman Jerry Daniels had another view, saying he thought the fair was “important to the agricultural community, as much as is the Bowlus to the county.” Commissioners earlier agreed to provide $75,000 to help with maintenance of the Bowlus Fine Arts Center this year, and budgeted $100,000 for 2017.

COUNTY Counselor Alan Weber said Planning Commission members were expected to decide Nov. 29 whether to recommend a zoning arrangement to permit wind farms in the county.
“We had six or seven people at the last meeting who had questions, and some were opposed,” Weber said. That will be resolved at this month’s meeting, he predicted.
Commissioners ultimately will decide the issue.

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