THE FUTURE IS NOW

New fairgrounds begins to rise
Thursday, January 5, 2023
The future is now
The future is now

Top photo: New construction shows tresses up and crews working on the site of the new Stillwater county Fairgrounds. A pre-engineered building will arrive and be constructed to create a pavilion and an open space area. The county’s goal is to have the facility ready to go by this summer’s 4-H fair. Bottom photo: The fairgrounds/FCIP planning and design team which most notably, has been guided by Stillwater County Planning Director Stephanie Ray (middle). SCN photos by Marlo Pronovost

A week ago, on the vacant piece of county- owned property just across I-90, years of work began to transform into physical progress as tresses for the new fairgrounds appeared. When the pre-engineered building is in place, the structure will be 34,000 squarefeet — with 12,000 square feet of that being the pavilion and 22,000 square feet being “open-sided multi-use space,” said Stillwater County Commissioner Tyrel Hamilton.

The total price tag of the project is approximately $8 million.

“At this point, the priority is to have the building ready for the fair in 2023,” said Hamilton.

That is up slightly from the original price of $6.8 million due mainly to inflation and additional square footage that has been added to the multi-use side, said Hamilton.

MONEY

Of the handful of Facility Improvement Projects identified, scrutinized, studied, engineered and adjusted during recent years, the fairgrounds moved to the front of the line due to two main factors: -The need to relocate the fairgrounds so the new Law & Justice Center can be built at that location. The county is committed to being able to hold all fairgrounds events at one location — something that would have been impacted had construction on the Law & Justice Center started while the fairgrounds still occupied that current site.

-Funding. On the funding factor, the county realized it already had the money for the project from Metal Mines, which is money that comes from the Sibanye-Stillwater mining company and can only be spent on certain things. One of those things is the “diversification and development of the economic base within the jurisdiction of a local government unit” or to “attract new industry to the impact area,” according to state law.

The new fairgrounds falls under those qualifying factors as the pavilion is rented out year-round for various functions by more then 200 different organizations and groups.

As of Wednesday, available funds and the accounts in which they are located that could be used to pay for the $8 million project are as follows:

•Metal Mines: $3.5 million

•PILT - $3.7 million

•ARPA - $1.8 million

•General Capital Account – $2.6 million

•A Loan (if needed) - $1.5 million Commissioners have also said that they will not drain any of these accounts to build the fairgrounds, but rather use a combination of funding sources.