Fairgrounds focuses on safety: $500,000 to fund construction projects, upgrades

LIMA —The Allen County Fairgrounds announced Monday a major development in plans for upgrades over the next year and a half.

The Allen County Agricultural Society Senior Fair Board will invest over $500,000 in funds to go toward construction projects including building a new sheep and goat show arena and a new maintenance building.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us,” Troy Elwer, Promotions and Operations Manager at the fair, said. “The board of directors has been working hand in hand diligently to try to take a really good look at our fairgrounds and see what we could do to enhance the overall aesthetic, safety and quality of our infrastructure. And that’s how we developed the list and how we’re going to invest funds into the projects.”

Other items on the list of projects will include purchasing and installing security cameras, completing the second phase of the Plaza Stage sponsored by Nutrien Lima and Nutrien Ag Solutions, a digital winners board sponsored by Kewpee, air conditioning in the Merchants building, replacements for all fair entrance gates, improving entry to the grandstands, new glass doors in buildings on the north end of the grounds and new structural painting projects.

“Some of these projects will be completed before the 2023 fair, but a couple of the larger scale projects, including the sheep and goat show arena and the maintenance building, will actually not be done until the 2024 fair,” Elwer said. “But the permanent security camera system will be done by this year’s fair and it will cover the roughly 135 acres that we sit on. The second phase of the plaza stage and the digital sign, which is already completed and up and the air conditioning in the Merchants Building will be ready for this year’s fair.”

Elwer also said that it was thanks to not just the agricultural society, but also the Allen County Commissioners and the state of Ohio that the bigger projects will be completed.

“We’re not only excited that we’re going to have new things out there, but really what we’re trying to do is to invest in ourselves and enhance the overall aesthetics to the beautification of the property and the overall safety,” he said. “In today’s day and age, safety and security are the most important features and facets of an outdoor entertainment/event venue. And then obviously, we house the youth of the Allen County community throughout the nine days of the fair, so creating an overall safe and healthy experience is certainly one of our top priorities and we’re hoping that these projects are continuing to help us stride in that positive direction.”

In the announcement from the fairgrounds, the president of the agricultural society board, Brian Langhals likewise committed to similar promises.

“Our staff and board of directors are committed to ensuring that the fair’s building and grounds are well maintained, as well as addressing visitor safety through improved entrance and exit gates and a camera system throughout the grounds.”

The Allen County Fair will run from Aug. 18 to 26 this year.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.