Feb 9, 2014

Darke Co. Fairboard gets input from public on cattle barns

BY RYAN BERRY
MANAGING EDITOR
GREENVILLE – The consensus of exhibitors and fair goers alike was to rebuild the beef and dairy cattle barns in the same location. The input was sought by the Darke County Fairboard at an open meeting on Jan. 30 at the Darke County Fairgrounds. The meeting was a result of a fire on Dec. 27 that destroyed two barns, connector and an office. The buildings have been determined to be a total loss.

While the majority wanted the barn(s) in the same place, the audience seemed to be split on whether the board should take its time to build something that could be used year round or get something up quick before the fair starts.

Getting something up before the fair starts may be out of the board’s hands. The weather has had a hand in slowing progress and as of Feb. 5 the area continued to be off limits. Insurance fire inspectors revisited the fairgrounds, but snow and ice once again limited the amount of work they could do.

A press release issued by the fairboard states, “It is the conclusion of these experienced investigators representing their respective clients that at the present time and given the inclement weather conditions present since the day of the fire, that the scene cannot be examined due to the snow load and frozen conditions present at the site without damaging anything that could be considered as a possible causation of the fire. Notifications are being sent out to other various possible interested parties with respect to examining the area.”

The board will assured area county resident the investigation will be completed as expediently as possible when the environmental conditions (thawing of the area) will allow the investigation to move forward. Weather patterns will be closely monitored and if a window opens and thawing occurs investigators will be back at the scene to complete their task at hand.

The biggest issue facing the board, according to some residents, is how they will handle this year’s fair. A few of the speakers spoke against rumors that would have the beef and dairy cattle sharing a tent. A second rumor would also have beef and dairy splitting time at the fair with each showing for three days. Those opposed pointed out the fair has had dangerous storms in the past and a tent would not provide adequate protection for the 4-H youth and the livestock. Most of those opposed to a tent were also opposed to splitting the time, stating the youth work over a year on their project and should be given the same amount of shows as in the past.

Richard Delk, board president, reminded speakers the board has not made a determination on how to proceed with the barns or shows this year. Approximately 100 persons attended the meeting with 14 persons speaking. Junior Fair members were given an opportunity to speak in a closed session prior to the meeting.

The board recently learned it can begin the process of seeking bids for the demolition of the damaged structures. Persons bidding on the project will have to take into consideration the project cannot begin until the buildings are released to the fairboard.

Fairboard members listened to comments made at an open meeting to determine how the board should proceed with rebuilding the cattle and dairy barns.

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