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Board gets grant for fairgrounds

ROME TOWNSHIP – Lawrence County’s fairgrounds will get a facelift for the new millennium, thanks to $80,000 in grant money awarded this week.

Thursday, October 21, 1999

ROME TOWNSHIP – Lawrence County’s fairgrounds will get a facelift for the new millennium, thanks to $80,000 in grant money awarded this week.

"Everybody who applied got it and we’re happy about it," said Doug Clark, Lawrence County Fair Board president.

The State Controlling Board approved the grant Tuesday, which is part of the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s $5 million stipend to 84 county agricultural societies and seven independent agricultural societies for capital improvements.

Lawrence County had applied for $100,000, the maximum, but the number of applications from around the state lowered the maximum amount to $80,000, Clark said.

After submitting documentation of the renovation, enhancement or infrastructure plans and how matching monies will be used, the societies will receive the state grant, he said.

"The papers have been signed and it’s only a formality now that it goes back before controlling board," he said.

The first Lawrence County project will be constructing a new 4-H food booth, followed by other fairgrounds add-ons, Clark said.

"The kids really deserve it, and that’s what this is all about," he said.

The existing cattle barn will remain – another barn will be built to house lambs and free up other space, he said.

The new barn also will allow a specific holding place for rabbits and chickens, and will mean more space in the 4-H exhibit barn, Clark said.

Also, the 4-H exhibit barn will receive a new roof and new siding, he added.

"It will make that building maintenance-free just like the art hall we just did," Clark said. "When you work on one thing, it benefits the whole fair.

There has always been a need for the improvements but, until now, repairs or improvements have been hard to come by because the board could not afford to do it, he said.

"This year, the attendance seemed up Monday through Wednesday but the heat might have decreased crowds the rest of the week," Clark said. "But, overall, the fair keeps growing so there is a need for improvements."

That’s why the fair board decided to apply for the agriculture department grant this spring, and why the county commission backed it with matching money, he said.

"This is the first ever grant we have gotten that I know of and we will apply for another smaller grant at the first of the year," Clark said. "Maybe we will get to do a few more things."

In the meantime, the board will continue fund-raisers as well, like this weekend’s Trade Days flea market, the proceeds from which will go to the annual fair, he said.