County plans fairground add-ons

Commissioners say some amenities at the fairgrounds are outdated.
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 6:09 a.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

The Boone County Commission is planning to make a few additions to the Boone County Fairgrounds on the advice of an expert hired to make the grounds more profitable.

The commission said Tuesday it plans to estimate costs for insulation of a multipurpose building, RV hookups with 30 to 50 electrical outlets and construction of a barn that would add 56 to 60 horse stalls. The grounds have four barns with 224 horse stalls.

The commission has been trying to make the fairgrounds profitable since 2003, when Boone County and the Columbia City Council approved a master plan for the property. Operating costs and lack of marketing have caused the fairgrounds to lose money.

The commission on Tuesday agreed with the recommendations of Rod Markin, a consultant hired by Boone County.

“We need to work with Boone County about RV hookups,” Southern Commissioner Karen M. Miller said. “The current ones are outdated now.”

Northern Commissioner Skip Elkin said some of the recommendations will require money from Boone County.

Miller said the fairgrounds need to add a minimum charge for activities to break even financially.

“The public needs trust in our policies and needs minimum costs,” she said. Without minimum costs, she said, the county could lose money by spending more than it charges for services.

Miller said the recommendations do not interfere with the fairgrounds’ master plan.

The commission will also consider how to restructure the fairgrounds’ management policies. It plans to hold a late-July meeting with the request-for-proposal committee.

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