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Fairgrounds to get $3 million in improvements

Grandstand expansion will handle even bigger crowds.

Sun Advocate Reporter

The Carbon County Fairgrounds is slated to begin a $3 million facelift in a few days.

According to Commissioner Bill Krompel, the improvements will make a difference by day and by night. They include:

* A new lighting and electrical system at the arena, skating rink and entry;

* An expansion and new roof at the arena grandstand;

* A new restroom;

* A new audio system;

* Relocation and reconstruction of the maintenance sheds.

The commissioner said the electrical work will replace the 50 year old system, which is so old that spare parts are no longer available. The lighting will be brighter and more efficient. Wiring will be rerouted underground for better reliability and looks. Work can commence within the next few weeks and can continue during events.

The audio system will cost about $250,000, he said, and will be a noticeable improvement.

Demolition and salvage of the grandstand is scheduled to begin when the season ends at the end of September. Construction should be completed by late spring 2011. In addition to expanding seating capacity by 600 to 700 seats, the new grandstand will also integrate a row of concession stands and storage units.

The new restroom will be built between the motocross track and the skating rink, areas that now lack permanent fixtures of their own. In addition to serving the needs of racers and skaters, the facility will accommodate overflow crowds at the big events, such as the rodeo and demolition derby.

The maintenance sheds, which are now showing their age, will be torn down and reconstructed on 2.5 acres in the southwest corner of the park. The main building will be 15,000 square feet, which should be enough to house and maintain all the grounds-keeping equipment, Mr. Krompel said.

Major funding for the project comes from a $1,337,500 grant and an equal amount as a loan from the Community Impact Board. The local share includes $300,000 from the Roads and Recreation Special Service District fund and a $25,000 donation from Conoco/Phillips.

Mr. Krompel said the county intends to act as its own general contractor and will subcontract to local construction companies. The objective, he explained, is to keep as much of the money as possible in the county to act as a stimulus for job creation and retention.

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