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Fair Board discusses water system upgrades

SHERIDAN — The Sheridan County Fair Association has teamed up with the Board of County Commissioners to solve two of the most common complaints about the fairgrounds: mud and dust.

While the Fair Association did not have enough board members present to make quorum at its regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, County Commissioner Mike Nickel was on hand to discuss the commissioners’ decision to fund a water system upgrade for the fairgrounds, alleviating dust issues and ensuring there is enough water pressure to service the heavily used stall areas.

The project will involve updating the eastern half of the water system, which currently has one three-quarter inch pipe feeding the stall area.

“If you’re staging an event like the county fair, it’s the one basic thing you should have in place and not have the people participating and their animals compromised by it whatsoever,” Fairgrounds Director Jamie Ringley said.

Design and construction estimates for the upgrade came in at $461,233. The county will apply for a State Loan and Investment Board grant in the amount of $184,493.20, or 40 percent of the total estimated cost, and will pay for the remaining $276,739.80, with a combination of general fund money, a local loan and additional grants, Nickel said.

In the June fair board meeting, the board talked about completing upgrades to the water system in three or four phases in order to spread out payment for the project. Since that meeting, the county commissioners decided to step in and find a way to complete the project all at once, hopefully in spring 2014, Ringley said.

With the money saved from not having to fund the water system upgrade, the fair board hopes to pave the exhibit hall parking lot this fall, which would solve dust and mud problems in one of the most heavily used areas at the fairgrounds.

“Right now it’s hot and dusty. In a couple months, it’s going to be wet and slushy. It doesn’t have to be that way,” Ringley said.

All other business for the Sheridan County Fair Association was deferred until next month’s meeting.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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