GREENVILLE — Members of the Darke County Board of Commissioners appeared before the Fair Board at its monthly meeting Wednesday night to address rumors about delays to the construction of new barn facilities.
In an official letter issued to the Fair Board, commissioners accused some of the group’s members of “dispersing wrong information to the public concerning insurance payments” necessary to begin work on the new structures and sought to address claims that commissioners were hindering progress on the new barns by withholding those funds.
According to Darke County Commissioner Matt Aultman, the county has received approximately $93,000 from the insurance company, of which roughly $67,000 has been released to the fair board in order to clean up and secure the site of the former swine barn. An additional $800,000 for construction of the new barns will not be released by the insurance company until final bids for the project have been accepted and design specifications approved.
Fair Manager Brian Rismiller thanked Aultman, as well as commissioners Mike Rhoades and Mike Stegall, for attending the meeting.
“I think it’s great when the lines of communication stay open,” Rismiller said.
Fair Board members discussed bids from three companies for construction of a new goat barn during a work session prior to Wednesday’s meeting, including Minster-based Dorsten, Inc.; Bruns General Contracting of Tipp City and Conger Construction Group of Lebanon. The board will hold a special meeting Friday evening to choose dog barn, goat barn and swine pen contractors, as well as to determine a location for the new dog barn.
As previously reported in The Daily Advocate, Fair Board members voted to hire Fair Funding LLC, a nonprofit consulting company based in Cincinnati, in October 2018 to conduct a feasibility study to gauge community support for a potential $2.5 million project to construct several new barns. The Fair Board, as well as the Junior Fair Swine Committee, Goat Committee, Dog Committee and Darke County Barrow Boosters, each pledged an equivalent amount toward the study.
Plans for the new barns were called into question, however, when personnel from the Greenville city police and fire departments, Greenville Township Emergency Services and Piqua and Burkettsville fire departments were dispatched to the Darke County Fairgrounds to combat a fire at the site of the former swine barn at approximately 9:15 p.m. Oct. 25. Arriving units found the swine barn fully engulfed in flames and quickly worked to knock down and control the blaze. The swine barn was primarily being used as a storage facility at the time.
The Fair Board held a special meeting in January to announce that Cargill, a multi-national agricultural corporation with facilities located throughout the Midwest, had agreed to donate $500,000 toward efforts to build the new barn facilities.
The next meeting of the Darke County Fair Board will take place at 7 p.m. Friday.