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Building at fairgrounds still in the works

By Staff | Oct 20, 2009

The Rugby Park District has set aside funds next year toward construction of a multi-purpose building at the Pierce County Fairgrounds, but just how big the structure will be remains to be worked out.

Earlier this year, the Pierce County Fair Board approached the park board, which owns the fairgrounds, about putting up a building to house 4-H exhibits and showcase other displays. The park board was receptive to the idea, but wanted to build a structure with an eye toward the future, according to Terry Wentz, park board member.

“We want to create something that is big enough that it can be used for more things down the road,’ he said. “It could be used to house fair exhibits, but also for other community events, group gatherings and auction sales. There are a lot of possibilities.”

While the fair board has no problems with that, it is wary constructing a larger building with added amenities will make it difficult for the fair to contribute toward the project, says Don Sobolik, fair association member. Right now, the fair is operating on a tight budget.

Wentz understands that, and adds the park board is willing to work with the fair in exploring other funding options, including grants and donations from businesses.

Initially, the proposed building was going to be located on the east end of the fairgrounds near the existing horse stables, but now the plan is for it to be on the west side between the restrooms.

“The idea is that it’s near a street, and if it ever is used during the winter months, it’s easier to get into,’ Wentz said.

Once the size of structure and what features to include are determined, than a cost estimate can be determined. If the park district pursues grants, it will need an architect to draft designs.

The goal is to get started on the project next spring and hopefully have some type of structure up by the end of summer, according to Sobolik, who also represents the Greater Rugby Conventions and Visitors Bureau. One use for a building other than to display fair exhibits, is for the Good Sam RV Club which will be gathering in Rugby next two Augusts, and will set up at the fairgrounds. The building could serve as a meeting hall for that club, Sobolik said.

The oldest structure on the fairgrounds is the wooden grandstand, and one that would be quite expensive to replace, Wentz said.

The park board does have regular inspections performed by its insurance providers to determine its structurally sound and regular maintenance is conducted.

“We know it’s old, but it just isn’t possible to build a new one,’ Wentz said. “Fortunately, it’s still in good enough shape to be used. I would hate to have to tear it down and just have bleachers there. A covered structure is important for the events held there.”

If anyone has suggestions or ideas of how the grandstand could be updated, should contact Wentz or other park board members.

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