By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
EL RENO – Steel is going up and progress is becoming more visible on the new Canadian County Fairgrounds’ complex – which is expected to be ready next summer.
Contractor crews under the supervision of construction manager Lingo Construction are building new facilities at the future county fairgrounds’ property just south of Interstate 40.
The new Canadian County Fairgrounds and Event Center is being built on a 50-acre site at Jensen and Alfadale roads near El Reno.
Canadian County Commissioners and fair board members expect the new county fairgrounds to host the 67th annual county fair in August 2021.
“The new fairgrounds completion is scheduled for us to take occupancy in June 2021 in time for our 2021 fair,” said Nathan Smith, director and marketing manager of the Canadian County Fairgrounds and Event Center.
“When I look off the side of I-40 and see the steel going up, I think about the work members of Canadian County have put in to bring it to fruition.”
Smith pointed out the country, state and local communities have walked through uncharted territory this year.
“I’m impressed to see our ag teachers, fair board members and county employees moving forward and creating solutions,” he said. “My hope for the new facility is (that) we continue to do just that as we grow in all areas.”
The new Canadian County Fairgrounds’ project will feature an expo center arena, maintenance building and stall barn.
WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR
Most activities planned for this week’s Canadian County Free Fair have been canceled due to COVID-19-related crowd restrictions and health concerns.
The only events will be youth livestock shows Wednesday through Friday, Aug. 26-28.
But the 2021 county fair will be much better, according to Canadian County Fair Board Secretary Brad Tipton.
“Next year, we have something to look forward to in new surroundings,” Tipton said. “We’ll have a new facility that I think people will be proud to come out and enjoy our county fair.”
Lingo Construction is overseeing several dozen subcontractors who began work this summer on the new Canadian County Fairgrounds and Event Center.
The $15.2 million price tag for the new facilities is about $900,000 below a December 2019 cost estimate totaling $16.1 million.
The Canadian County Fairgrounds’ project is being funded through county use tax collections.
Use tax is a tax on goods purchased in another state for use in the taxing state, in lieu of local sales tax.
Canadian County’s monthly use tax disbursements have ranged between $98,893 to $191,740.84 over the past 12 months.
Debt service on the new county fairgrounds will be about $900,000 annually when the project is complete, according to District 2 County Commissioner David Anderson.
“Currently we pay interest on money used to date,” he explained.
“As long as” Canadian County receives more than $80,000 monthly in use tax revenues, Anderson said commissioners will be able to service the debt on the construction project.