The Lincoln County Public Property Committee is hoping to sell the county board on a plan to build a new fairgrounds structure that won’t preclude the possible future expansion into an expo center.
The committee last week examined Marathon County’s berm system seating at Marathon Park. The concrete seating structure is built into a man-made earthen hill. Marathon County’s structure seats 4,000.
Marathon County’s project cost $1.6 million in 2001, which included demolition of their old grandstand and construction of bathrooms. By modifying the plan and reducing the size to 3,000 seats, committee members feel they could come close to that same dollar figure.
“I don’t think the costs would be that much higher,” said committee chair Bill Zeitz.
The county has $1.3 million available in insurance money from the loss of the old grandstand, which was razed in 2012 after suffering storm damage. The County Board in July voted to lay over until November action on accepting a bid for grandstand replacement.
Dale Christianson, the Fair Association’s representative on the county’s Fairground Users Group committee, said the berm system could be the first phase of an expo center project.
“It would be something you could work with,” he said. “From the fair’s standpoint, this idea makes a lot of sense to me. We need to show the county board something other than a basic grandstand.”
Public Property Committee member Dave Fox said a berm system has expansion potential while staying relatively close to the dollar figure the county has available.
“I don’t see spending $1.2 million on a basic grandstand as a good investment,” added committee member Jeff Hetfeld.
Zeitz said he feels a berm concept could be completed in time for next summer’s events at the fairgrounds.
The committee is hoping to get a proposal together to show the County Board prior to the November meeting.