WILMINGTON — A top-to-bottom refurbishing of the Peterson Building on the Clinton County Fairgrounds is so extensive the facility will be re-dedicated.
Ten days before the county fair starts, county commissioners on Wednesday took a tour around the place where it’s held, in part to see the effects of $97,000 in General Fund expenditures. They indicated they’re pleased with the results.
Other than the Peterson Building, the second biggest change to a facility is to the open air 4-H Food Pavilion, said Fair Board President Scot Gerber. It has a new ceiling instead of exposed rafters, new LED lights instead of yellow bulbs, plus new metal posts and new gable ends.
Clinton County Commissioner Mike Curry referred to the food pavilion’s upgrade as a transformation.
The tour also highlighted a very large ceiling fan that now hangs over the Livestock Exposition Center’s (beef barn) show-ring. It’s expected to alleviate the mid-July heat for exhibitors, their animal projects, judges and show-ring attendants. Spectators may feel a difference, too.
There will be two new big digital signs, listing project shows and events and maybe champions, Gerber said. One sign will be installed upon an exterior wall of the Livestock Exposition Center, and a second digital sign will be on top of the 4-H Wall of Champions which is near the Junior Fair Office.
There also are improvements to horse barns — other than one slated to be demolished later in the year and replaced utilizing Capital Budget funds from the state.
But the change that will be hardest to overlook for fair attendees is a new main entrance. It’s further south on South Nelson Avenue than the prior one that was near the horse arena.
The new main entrance is across the roadway from where Wilmington City School buses are parked when not in use. It’s wide enough for three lanes of vehicles — and, at its juncture with the road, it can accommodate two entrance lanes and two exit lanes, Gerber said.
Another change in fairgrounds infrastructure is WiFi that provides Internet access in certain fairground areas such as campsites and buildings. There are price options for anyone wanting to log on for more than 15 minutes per day.
After the tour, the commissioners’ meeting included:
• Clinton County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Jones gave an update about property damage from the June 23 tornado and severe winds. He advised that the National Weather Service (NWS) had upgraded the classification of the tornado from a preliminary EF0 to EF1.
According to the website of the NWS office in Wilmington, “Maximum wind speeds were estimated to be 105 MPH, which corresponds well to the velocities sampled by the WSR-88D radar in Wilmington, Ohio, which indicated velocities of nearly 90-95 knots at times (several hundred feet above the ground).”
The local area will not be declared a disaster, Jones said, because the damage sustained does not satisfy the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) requirements.
At least 25 homes and/or businesses have to be basically destroyed in order to have a FEMA disaster declaration, said Jones. Damage to outbuildings are not included in the counting, he added.
• Clinton County Administrator Mary Ann Foland said it appears the county’s medical plan renewal will be less than 1 percent because county employees recorded the highest performance among the insurer’s client counties.
• In accordance with Ohio Revised Code provisions, the commissioners approved paying $985 to fix the statue that is part of the veterans memorial in Sugar Grove Cemetery.
City of Wilmington Public Service & Safety Director Brian A. Shidaker said the soldier statue’s hat is broken and the satchel needs repaired.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768 or on Twitter @GHuffenberger.