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MILLERSBURG -- In May 2014, the Holmes County Fair Board entered into an agreement with Bleacher Builders of Muncie, Ind., to purchase 2,000 seats from the Daytona International Speedway. It was supposed to be a turnkey installation for $170,000.
In late May, the Holmes County Fair Board voted to enter into an agreement with the law firm of Bricker and Eckler to work toward possible recovery of funds paid, as the bleachers that were installed in January had to be taken down by a crew form Holmes County, as engineer Chris Young pointed out countless bad welds and other problems with the bleachers.
Young said it is far better to have caught the problems now and avoid a serious problem in the future, such as the stands collapsing,
The board also entered into agreement with Mast Farm Service of Walnut Creek to re-fabricate the current steel as well as provide new steel for the beams that were wrong. Mast Farm Service will also assist in the reconstruction of the corrected system."It will require aggressive action to get the upgraded structure reinstalled in time for fair week, beginning August 7, but all parties have a degree of confidence it can be completed," Board President Kerry Taylor said.
As a contingency plan, the board is seeking quotes for temporary rental of grandstands that can be installed for the week of the fair. The grandstands used at last year's fair were recently sold at auction.
"Fairgoers can rest assured that we will either have the permanent stands in place or adequate temporary stands will be installed for the fair to host our events, including the Little River Band on Aug. 12," Taylor said. "The board is very upset that this unfortunate series of events has taken place, but in the end, the safety of fairgoers is our No. 1 priority."
Taylor indicated that had the board tried to install a brand new 2,000-seat grandstand, the cost would've been close to $750,000, and would not have been installed any time soon.
"Even though the final cost of the grandstand will exceed what was originally expected, the total cost will likely remain below 40 percent of the cost of a new system," he said. "The community entrusted us with the donated money and support to create Harvest Ridge, and the new fairgrounds. We, in turn, trusted various businesses and contractors to fulfill their obligations to perform properly and many great local companies did just that. It is unfortunate that those associated with the initial grandstand structure have not."
In other business, there were 34 applicants for the Harvest Ridge manager position. Seven were interviewed and an offer should be tendered soon for a candidate.
Two of the ponds on the fairgrounds have been cleaned out, but we still need to work on the other ponds, Taylor reported. It is beyond a volunteer handling in the evening hours so we will need to hire that project out to be taken care of. The upper camp sites are ready for underground utilities.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.