County: New arena will be complete by fair


— County commissioners reaffirmed their support Tuesday for the completion of the new indoor arena at the Routt County Fairgrounds.

The project could be facing an estimated $150,000 shortfall.

Those estimates, however, could improve as in-kind donations arrive and other donations make up the difference.

"We didn't start this thing with the intention we weren't going to complete it," County Commissioner Dan Ellison said.

If the necessary funds are not immediately available to complete the indoor arena, the county will make up the difference with money from its general fund.

Lottery proceeds, which arrive in quarterly payments to the county, would eventually reimburse the county for its contribution.

Routt County's lottery proceeds for the first quarter of 2002 totaled $16,597.

About $187,000 in amassed lottery proceeds has already been committed to the project.

It would take a few years to pay the county back $150,000, County Manager Tom Sullivan said.

Some of the shortfall stems from a pending $50,000 grant application to Great Outdoors Colorado that was recently denied.

But Medora Fralick, a Routt County Fair Board member, stressed the $150,000 figure was only a conservative estimate.

Several funding options still exist, she said.

"Don't give up on us yet," Fralick said.

The county recognizes the importance of the new indoor arena, County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said.

She suggested an opportunity to generate more funding for the arena might arise during the Routt County Fair in August.

Much of the construction will be complete in time for the fair, and people could be asked if they want to participate in bringing the rest of it to fruition, Stahoviak said.

County commissioners further lent their support to the project by permitting the use of county gravel at county costs on the project, so long as it didn't interfere with the county's gravel needs.

County officials and fair board members have good reason to be confident about an August deadline.

Construction on the arena is one week ahead of schedule, construction manager Don Means said.

The county last month hired Means' company, Five Pine Construction in Yampa, to oversee construction of the building.

"Everything is looking good," he said.

A double crew has already begun erecting the steel building, he said.

The county is using a $300,000 Energy Impact Grant to pay for the construction of the building. The grant covered the cost of site preparation.

Fund-raising efforts by local 4-H clubs and the Routt County Fair Board, as well as grants from the Gates Foundation and Yampa Valley Community Foundation, have also made the project possible.


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