By Keith Gushard
More than $100,000 worth of renovations are proposed at the Crawford County Fairgrounds prior to the opening of 2013 Crawford County Fair this August.
The projects were reviewed briefly for the coming year by the Crawford County Fair Board at its monthly meeting Thursday at the county courthouse in Meadville.
Two major projects include upgrading main power electrical service at the fair office and construction of a new draft horse barn measuring 22 feet by 102 feet.
Other projects planned are roof repairs for sheep, 4-H dairy, and chicken barns and Exhibit Hall No. 2; adding water and electric service to camp sites between Gates 3 and 4; adding water service to another 15 camp sites; and blacktop in front of the livestock complex.
The cost of the proposed 2013 projects is estimated at $118,250, but that amount doesn’t include the cost of the new draft horse barn.
Roof repair work is expected to be done by county maintenance crews while projects like the electrical upgrade and barn project will seek contractors.
Crawford County government owns the fairgrounds and buildings, but the fair is operated by an independent, volunteer board appointed by county commissioners.
From 1976 through 2012, with profits from the fair and state grants, the fair board has invested $3.25 million in upgrades to the buildings and grounds.
Some of the larger capital projects have happened in the past 15 years, including construction of a 5,000-seat grandstand and larger main performance stage.
Also, the Crawford County Dairy Committee spearheaded construction of a large dairy barn on the grounds which included a $50,000 donation from the fair board.
However, much of the work isn’t necessarily quickly noticeable to the average visitor like the large construction projects are.
Often times, the yearly capital work has included upgrades to electrical service at exhibit buildings, or installation or improvements to utility lines.
Francis Weiderspahn Jr., chairman of Crawford County Board of Commissioners, said the fair board’s investment in the grounds is extremely important to the county.
“They’re investing money in the grounds and are willing to do that to offset the cost of running the fairgrounds,” Weiderspahn said. “It helps keep the buildings in good repair, too.”
While the annual Crawford County Fair runs for only eight days in late August, the fairgrounds has events almost each weekend from May through September, according to Weiderspahn. Some of those weekends, there are multiple events in different locations on the grounds, he said.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.