The Woodward News

December 11, 2012

County sets tax vote on fairgrounds renovation

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Voters will soon decide on a half-cent sales tax increase to fund proposed improvements to the Woodward County Fairgrounds.

During Monday's county board meeting, county commissioners approved an election proclamation to include the sales tax increase on the Feb. 12, 2013 election ballot.

If approved, funds generated by the new sales-tax would go toward the construction and equipping of a new Woodward County Fairgrounds and Expo Center.

The fairgrounds improvement project consists of:

• the removal of one of the current fair barns, referred to as Building 2, which is around 100 years old;

• replacing Building 2 with a covered pavilion;

• the renovation of the adjacent fair barns, referred to as Buildings 1 and 3, which range in age from almost 60 to over 80 years old;

• the removal of another fair barn and the current office complex housing OSU Extension Center, DA's bogus check division and Soil Conservation District; and

• replacing the office complex with a new 60,000 square foot Expo Center to include a multi-purpose arena area and new office space for the OSU Extension Center and DA's bogus check division.

Prior to the commissioners' vote, those present at the board meeting had an opportunity to ask questions concerning the proposed fairgrounds project.

One of the main issues addressed was the apparent increase in the estimated project price, from $10.4 million in beginning estimates to the current $12.4 million cost projection.

Heath Hans, project architect from Architects in Partnership, explained that there were several contributing factors to this increase from the original estimates, such as the decision to add the covered, insulated pavilion to replace Building 2.

Also contributing to the additional cost is the extent of renovation required for Buildings 1 and 3.

Commissioner Vernie Matt mentioned that the newest barn, Building 3, was built around 1964, and that Building 1 was nearly 83 years old.

"Since we're redoing the old barns they'll have to be brought up to code," Matt said.

The extent of renovations to the building will include new vents and exhaust to the buildings, as well as insulation and electrical renovation. New entrances to the buildings have also been proposed.

While the projected cost for the new expo center has apparently gone up from original estimates, county commissioners made sure to note nothing was set in stone yet.

"These are all just estimates right now, we won't know actual final numbers until the bids go out," Commissioner Tommy Roedell said.

"We'll more than likely come in under budget," Matt said.

Hans agreed, noting that the project architects had been a liberal in their estimates in order to ensure that the project could be completed within budget.



OTHER BUSINESS

In other business Monday, county commissioners received a report from the Woodward County Fair Board concerning the fair board's vote in favor of joining the Oklahoma Association of Fairs and Festivals (OAFF).  Then acting on the fair board's recommendation, the commissioners voted to allow the county to join the OAFF.  Woodward County Fair Board members Andy Maher and Mark Clark will now attend the OAFF's annual meeting Feb. 1 through Feb. 3.

County board members also approved the grant for the Dewey County Rural Water Project to bring the water system up to standards.  Although the grant money will go to Dewey County, since the water project will affect residents in the Mutual area, Woodward County Commissioners also had to act on the water project grant.

Bids from Dub Ross and CL Boyd for 6 month grader blades and bolts for all district were both accepted based on availability.

Commissioner Ted Craighead mentioned in the past the county has had difficulties getting this equipment, and by accepting both bids the county allowed itself 2 means by which to acquire new grader blades should the need arise.

Commissioners heard a request from the Grunewald Family LLC for a zoning change on a 32 acre tract of land located southeast of Woodward along Highway 270.  The landowners want to rezone the land from an agricultural district to an industrial district.

County Clerk Charlotte Waggoner said that the landowners indicated that they believe the rezoning would allow them to put the property to a more profitable use.

But before voting on the rezoning, the commissioners want to hear from any neighboring landowners who may object to the change in classification.  So the county board has scheduled a public meeting for Dec. 26 to discuss the rezoning request.

The board concluded Monday's meeting by reappointing the current receiving officer for the Northwestern Oklahoma Solid Waste Disposal Authority under her new married name.

"Donna has remarried, so basically we're just changing it from Donna Clark to Donna Russell," Waggoner said.