Fairgrounds improvement

cost overruns means not all

plans to be complete this year

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

Feb. 15, 2018

 

MANTI—The Sanpete County Commission faces new challenges in completing planned improvements at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds this year before the fair.

At their meeting last week on Tuesday, Feb. 6, the commission heard that improvements at the Sanpete County Fairgrounds have run into “cost overruns” and that not all of the planned improvements may be finished this year.

Garrick Willden, project manager at Jones and DeMille, and Mike Bennett, chairman of the Sanpete County Fair Board, presented this news to the commissioners while updating them on the progress of improvements at the fairground.

Willden informed the commissioners that current plans would leave the project with an $187,000 shortfall.

These current plans call for the completion of fencing and lighting around the fairgrounds arena and the erection of a new restroom/concessions building, as well as finishing the grandstand construction.

Commission Chair Scott Bartholomew reiterated the commission’s intention to not allot new funding to the fair project: “We obligated ourselves that we’re not going into debt on this [project].”

Bartholomew was referring to the many discussions between the commission and the public during the debates over the last property tax increase during 2016.

Bennett said the project had enough money to finish the grandstands and complete the fencing and lighting for the arena without going over budget. However, there would not be enough money for completion of a restroom/concession building.

Commissioner Claudia Jarrett suggested the fair might have to use a temporary structure this year, such as the one used every year by the Mormon Miracle Pageant.

Willden detailed the parts of the project which caused the project to go over budget.

Project managers had expected a water line running through the middle of the fairgrounds, which did not actually exist. That had to be installed brand new for $16,000.

The original budget did not include purchasing soil for arena fill, and that had to be added for the same price as the water line: $16,000.

Willden also said the budget for the fencing and corrals and for lighting and power would likely go over budget somewhat, although he didn’t know yet by how much.

Commissioner Steve Lund, who has been working closely with the fair board during the project, affirmed that the fencing and lighting would indeed be completed within the current budget.

He also said there is a “very good” chance the fair board would be able to gather enough funding over the next six months to complete the restroom/concession building. He is even “optimistic” that the building could be completed in time for this summer’s fair, as well.

However, Lund is “not optimistic at all” that the long-term $500,000 “wish list” of improvements for the fairgrounds could be completed this year.

He thinks that list will take several years of additional fundraising to see fruition.

In the meantime, he said, “we’re sticking right to the budget” in order to finish all necessary improvements this year.