Representatives from MATURA, the Union County Fair Board and Creston’s Gibson Memorial Library met with Union County Board of Supervisors Monday requesting funding for their operations. Supervisors did not take any action on any of the requests as they begin writing the county’s fiscal year 2023 budget. The fiscal year begins July 1.
Fair board President Ben Adamson requested $25,000, as has been received in recent years. Last month, supervisors awarded the fair board $350,000 in America Rescue funds to expand the bleachers in the rodeo arena. Although Adamson did not explain any other projects planned at the fairgrounds, he did include the fair board’s interests.
“We need to expand the campground and participant parking,” he said.
He used rodeo participants as the example.
“You have dually trucks and 40-foot livestock trailers. There is not a lot of room to turn around,” he said about the common vehicles among rodeo participants. He said the campground at the fairground quickly fills up knowing there are additional people who would like to camp.
Adamson said there is also discussion about improving the surface of the rodeo arena. He said the condition is not ideal for rodeo livestock. Because the same arena is used for tractor pulls and the demolition derby, the surface should be replaced.
Adamson said the fairgrounds is wanting to host various livestock shows which he said are growing in popularity across the state. Typically, once a county fairgrounds has become a host site, the county can host future shows at the same time of year. Adamson said the fair board is reviewing possible dates for various shows.
The challenge with being a host site for a livestock show is providing food and concessions. The fair board’s food license is only good during the county fair. The fair board would take on additional costs and regulations to have a food license throughout the year. It is possible the fair board could allow a caterer or food trucks for those events.
He said those livestock shows will just add to the growth the county fair has experienced.
“Attendance is way up. Concessions are way up. Beer sales are way up,” he said about the fair.
Adamson hopes concrete work for the new bleachers will begin in early April and installation of the bleachers will be in early May.
Gibson Memorial Library Director Aric Bishop requested $33,000. He provided some statistics about usage of the library from July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021.
The library had 143 programs with a total cumulative attendance of 2,149. There were 30,921 physical items checked out. That included books, audiobooks, kits and DVDs. Digital items, like ebooks and videos totaled 6,189. Bishop said the library had 12,912 visitors and 11,070 Wi-Fi sessions. Bishop said the library’s Wi-Fi was expanded to reach beyond the actual library building.
The library’s summer reading program last year had 56 events attended by a total of 1,042. In June, there were 2,166 visitors and July had 1,552.
Bishop said the library’s board is in need of one person. The person must live outside of a city limit’s in the county and be a male to have gender balance. Those who are interested are to contact Bishop at the library.
Danna Buls, executive director for MATURA, requested $9,000, the same amount that has been funded in the past. The organization provides various services to those in need including Head Start and assisting with utility payments for those who are eligible.