Indoor arena may be ready for fair

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— With a $300,000 grant recently awarded to Routt County, officials are optimistic a multipurpose building will be ready for the 88th Routt County Fair in August.

On Tuesday, the Department of Local Affairs notified county officials they would receive a $300,000 Energy Impact Grant to be used for the indoor arena.

"This means the building is going to happen," Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said of the grant. "There is no doubt in my mind."

Last December, the county bought a $213,000 building from a Loveland company.

County officials are expecting EagleSpan Steel Structures Inc. to deliver the steel building to the Hayden fairgrounds by the end of May or in early June.

The cost of the building includes lighting, insulation and painting the inside of the arena, but it does not include site preparation or the construction of the facility.

To purchase the building, the county is using $167,000 in lottery funds and $38,000 that has been raised by 4-H clubs in the county.

With the grant, the county will be able to pay for the site preparation needed to be done at the fairgrounds and the construction of the arena, Stahoviak said.

Local 4-H clubs and the Routt County Fair Board have also raised money for the building through a number of fund-raisers in the past two years.

Terry Doherty, administrative assistant to the fair board, said the support the project has received from businesses and residents in the county has been impressive.

"People of all ages and walks of life have contributed to this incredible project," Doherty said.

Routt County 4-H clubs raised close to $38,000 through a number of fund-raisers. The clubs raised the most money through a truck raffle.

The club bought the truck at cost from Steamboat Motors and then sold raffle tickets. Through this effort, $30,300 was raised.

Members also raised $4,000 through corporate sponsors, Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and Wal-Mart, with a handshake day, a car wash and promotions at last year's county fair.

The clubs also raised money through a cattle drive, a penny drive and by selling birdseed blocks.

The board also raised money for the building. A letter campaign to individuals, businesses and corporations in the Yampa Valley resulted in $19,000.

The board also coordinated a carnival last summer that generated $3,226.

Along with the Energy Impact Grant, the board has also received a $60,000 grant from the Gates Foundation. Three other grant applications are pending.

"The fair board has done an incredible job of raising money," Stahoviak said.

Officials are hopeful construction of the building will start by the end of spring and be ready by this year's fair, Aug. 10-18.

"The fair board is well on their way to meeting that goal," Stahoviak said.

If completed in time, the new building would host horse events and livestock shows and sales.

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