WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Agricultural Society (Fair Board) is planning on a “full-go,” a “full slate of events” for this summer’s county fair, board officers told county commissioners Wednesday.
Last summer, a basically full fair including rides was held, with some COVID-19 modifications. The decision last year to move forward with as much of a full fair as possible was made June 1, 2020 in a Fair Board of Directors vote.
On Wednesday, Fair Board Vice President Jason Vance and Treasurer Shane Smith met with commissioners. Both Vance and Smith are new to their officer positions this year, joining new President Kevin Bogan. Sherri Keller continues as the secretary.
New to the Board of Directors are John Cooper, Josh Dixon, and RJ Hargis.
Vance and Smith spoke about planned improvements at the fairgrounds.
The horse arena will be upgraded, said Smith. Work will be performed to improve water drainage at the arena. One benefit is that it’s expected to be more spongy and safer if a rider happens to fall off their horse.
The electric at the horse arena announcer’s stand will be upgraded, too.
The show ring in the Livestock Expo Center will be improved. Part of the impetus for that, explained Smith, is an interest from some cattle breeding associations to come and have open shows there.
A comparatively major project being planned is the rebuilding of the announcer’s booth located in the infield of the race track and pulling track facility.
The Fair Board is looking to beef up the presence of fairgrounds’ security cameras, and are trying to get more cameras in the horse barns.
Smith said in today’s world, the more security you can have, the better off you are.
Vance mentioned they are looking at making some repairs to fairgrounds fencing, noting there have been some people experiencing homelessness found in the barns.
“We’re going to try our best to keep them out. We’ve had several incidents over the last six months,” he said.
With people getting vaccinated and social events starting to return, the Fair Board is starting to rent out Expo Hall again, they said.
The two men mentioned the Clinton County Agricultural Society has a new website, which contains more information including about building rentals and the booking schedule. There’s also a gallery of fun photographs with lots of pictures of residents, especially youths.
In a separate Wednesday appointment, Clinton County Economic Development Director Jennifer Ekey and Clinton County Port Authority Executive Director Daniel G. Evers updated commissioners on their work. They were also there to celebrate National Economic Development Week.
Ekey reported they have received a draft copy of a detailed housing study, with a final draft anticipated in 30 days. The housing study is expected to yield data that the Clinton County Port Authority’s economic developers and others need at their fingertips when talking to residential developers about the housing market here.
Asked by Clinton County Commissioner Mike McCarty what she thought of the draft copy overall, Ekey said, “I think it really quantifies where we need to go.”
Evers said there was nothing here like the local housing study. Moreover, it is comprehensive, he said, and it breaks up the county community into segments because different parts of the county have different needs.
Clinton County Commissioner Kerry R. Steed said he thinks the gold standard of economic development consists of available housing in the communities.
He went on to say, “It’s one thing to have a major company like ATSG or Amazon or AZEK [TimberTech] or whoever come to your community and bring hundreds of jobs. But it’s another to have a family transplant itself here and they invest their lives here.”
Focusing on economic development, Steed added these transplanted families then fill their gas tanks and their grocery carts here.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.