Canadian County Expo/Event Center set for July debut

$414K waterline contract OKd; construction ahead of schedule

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Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart stands at the site of the future Canadian County Expo & Event Center at Jensen and Alfadale roads near El Reno. Construction of Canadian County’s new $15.2 million fairgrounds’ complex is expected to be finished in June. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

With opening of a new Canadian County fairgrounds’ complex set for early July, installation of a new waterline to serve the site is getting underway.

Construction is expected to be finished in June on the Canadian County Expo & Event Center, built on a 50-acre site at Jensen and Alfadale roads just south of Interstate 40 near El Reno.

“Events are starting July 4th weekend,” Canadian County Commission Chairman Jack Stewart said. “It’s going to be a ‘multi-use’ facility.”

Although the official opening won’t be for a few more months, Director and Marketing Manager Nathan Smith has already been busy booking events for the new Canadian County Expo & Event Center.

Besides having local FFA and 4-H competitions, the Canadian County Expo & Event Center will be open to host activities ranging from horse shows and graduations to concerts and rodeos.

The 67th Annual Canadian County Free Fair will be presented Aug. 23-28 at this new venue.

Canadian County officials have been closely monitoring the progress being made by construction manager Lingo Construction, which is due to finish the $15.2 million project ahead of schedule.

“It’s starting to come together,” District 2 County Commissioner Dave Anderson said.

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GETTING THE WATER

One important step has been to ensure there is an adequate water supply for the new event center, arena and livestock barn.

The Canadian County Public Facilities Authority, comprised of the three county commissioners, has formally agreed to awarding a contract to JAG Underground LLC to place two miles of 12-inch waterline along Alfadale Road.

The Canadian County Water Authority (also known as the Banner rural water district) recently approved awarding a $414,920 low bid as recommended by the project engineer, Poe Engineering.

“There were 12 bids that were turned in,” said Chairman Stewart, the District 3 county commissioner. “The engineer had it estimated right at $500,000.”

Poe Engineering designed the new waterline and obtained the required Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) permit.

The waterline will be installed at least 48 inches deep below the flowline of the ditch.

“It’s going to run from Reno and Alfadale up to Jensen and Alfadale,” Stewart explained. “The waterline will be put in as part of the Banner water board system. For the first 10 years, since we’re funding the installation, we have the rights to it if anyone ‘taps’ into the waterline.

“If this area develops in the next 10 years, which it may very well, we should get most – if not all – of the money back on it eventually with tap-in fees.”

It will take about two months for JAG Underground to complete the waterline installation. Work will be done in March and April.

The Canadian County Expo & Event Center’s director and marketing manager, Smith, and Fair Board Secretary Brad Tipton are expected to move into their new offices in June.

USE TAX FUNDING

The Canadian County Expo & Event Center 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 $179,648 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 Commissioner Anderson.

Canadian County will be able to service the debt on the construction project “as long as” the county receives more than $80,000 monthly in use tax revenues, Anderson said.

The monthly average has been $121,060 over the past year, according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission.