Lee County Fair Association to receive $236,000 for upgrades to buildings and grounds – Shaw Local

2022-09-03 03:52:10 By : Mr. SEAN LIU

Mary Meyers, a member of the Soaring Eagles 4-H group, shows off her pygmy goat July 29 at the Lee County 4-H Fair and Junior Show. Meyers took first in the junior category. (Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@shawmedia.com/credit)

DIXON – The Lee County Fair Association will be making some major facilities upgrades after receiving $236,000 from the Lee County Board.

The board approved the organization’s request last week for American Rescue Plan Act funds, of which the county received about $6.6 million.

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Of the $236,000, $100,000 will come from the county’s ARPA dollars, earmarked for community service organizations, and $136,000 will come from the ARPA general fund, board Chairman Bob Olson said.

The fairgrounds in Amboy has become a popular rental option during the last 15 years for events like wedding receptions, family reunions, trade shows, vendor fairs and quinceaneras. Its main event is the Lee County 4-H Fair and Jr. Show.

Pyper Bruns, 7, of the Carefree Oregon 4-H club, looks over the prize rabbits July 27 during the Lee County 4-H Fair and Junior Show in Amboy. (Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@shawmedia.com/credit)

The Lee County Fair Association has invested revenue from those events to improve the main exhibit building with previous work including installing LED lighting, painting, replacing the kitchen and conference room floors and building new bathroom facilities.

“Additional upgrades are necessary to achieve energy efficiency in this 42-year-old building,” association treasurer Andy Pratt said in the project funding request.

The group’s list of upgrades and improvement projects totals about $737,000 with insulating, repairing the outer cinder block walls, wrapping the exterior in steel, repairing the concrete floor, adding interior steel to the walls and ceiling, upgrading the kitchen HVAC and lighting, as well as completing structural repairs to the livestock barns.

The county funds will be used for new insulation and exterior steel, with gutters for the south room of main exhibit building, new exterior steel and gutters for the north room and repairs to the main support posts in the swine/sheep livestock barn. All of the improvements are expected to be completed in 2023.

Bob Althous steers his rig down the track July 29 during the 4750 tractor class pulls at the Lee County 4-H Fair and Junior Show in Amboy. (Alex T. Paschal/apaschal@shawmedia.com/credit)

Part of the county’s focus with the ARPA funds has been to benefit businesses and organizations negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The fair association lost about $18,000 in revenue from canceled private events in 2020 and 2021. It estimates another $65,000 lost from not having the Lee County 4-H Fair and Jr. Show in 2020.

The county has set aside $1 million in reserves for both 2023 and 2024, $1.5 million for capital projects, $500,000 for the small business program, $250,000 for community service organizations, $500,000 toward business and economic development, and $1.8 million for general funding requests.

Applications for funding are reviewed by the county’s special ARPA committee and go to the County Board for final approval.

The board approved the fair funding in a 18-3 vote, with members Tom Wilson, Doug Farster and Chris Norberg voting against.

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.

Copyright © 2022 Shaw Local News Network

Copyright © 2022 Shaw Local News Network