County Board takes no action on Expo Center
The Fairgrounds Marketing and Usage group presented their ideas and plans for the proposed expo center to the County Board at last Tuesday’s meeting.
While the County Board did not take a vote on the matter, they did express some concerns about building an expo center in Lincoln County. The most prevalent concern focused on where the funds for completing a project like this would come from.
Supervisor James Alber expressed his concern over what would happen should the expo center not be as successful as the projected numbers for profit indicate. Alber, along with other board members, did not want to see an expo center become a burden for tax payers to carry.
“It comes down to the money for me,” Supervisor Frank Saal said. “My problem is that when I talk to people in the community, a few of them are for it, but a vast majority don’t want it on their tax roll.”
Although there were many monetary concerns for building the $7 million building, there was also support of the idea.
“The Lincoln County Fair is a wonderful tradition, but I feel it’s time to progress,” Supervisor Patricia Woller said. “Just replacing the grandstand isn’t going to do that. I see this as an opportunity and a blessing for Lincoln County.”
Woller expressed favor for the idea of completing the project in phases, where each phase would only begin once the required funds were raised to complete it.
According to the Fairgrounds Marketing and Usage group, the first phase would consist of building the berms and bleachers as well as the substructure for the completed building without walls or a roof for an estimated cost of about $2.5 million. Phase two would consist of the building’s substructure, the berms and bleachers as well as construction of enclosed bathrooms, concessions and ticket counters for about $3.4 million. The final phase would complete the building for a total of $7 million.
“I believe we can build something we can be proud of for years to come,” Woller said.
The completed expo center would be about 82,000 square feet with bench seating for 3,400 people with room for another 3,000 floor seats for concert events. The arena would have a dirt floor, allowing for events like motocross, rodeos, tractor pulls and monster truck rallies to take place within the building. The building would be located near where the previous grandstand stood at the southeast corner of the fairgrounds.
The discussion over the expo center brought a high turnout from the community of Lincoln County to the meeting.
The Fairground Marketing & Usage Committee will meet again July 11. One agenda item is a debrief of the County Board’s expo center discussion.