The Decatur County Commissioners have hired local man Jake Bauer as the Maintenance Manager for the Decatur County Fairgrounds. His responsibilities include physical maintenance of the fairground buildings and grounds as well as management of fairground volunteer efforts by groups like the FFA, 4-H and Honda.

GREENSBURG — Decatur County Commissioners Mark Koors, Chuck Emsweller and Jerome Beuning recently announced the hiring of a new maintenance person for the Decatur County Fairgrounds.

Jake Bauer has been hired as a maintenance person to attend to the fairgrounds and the facilities there. His duties will include giving renters (events or storage during winter months) keys, getting them tables and chairs, managing the disposal of trash from such events, managing and returning deposits when appropriate, etc. Bauer will also take care of general maintenance of the buildings and the grounds and attend to minor landscaping issues.

“There are several beds there whose maintenance has gone by the wayside,” Commissioner Koors said.

According to Commissioner Emsweller, Bauer’s additional responsibilities will include coordination of volunteer efforts staged at the fairgrounds (4-H, FFA, and Honda volunteer projects beautifying or maintaining various features of the fairgrounds, etc.

“We have a lot of community entities that want to do things out there that he’ll oversee,” Emsweller said.

The Commissioners also plan to address the failing Community Building at the fairgrounds.

Koors said $150,000 derived from the sale of the old Board of Health Building at the intersection of First and Lincoln streets to Decatur County Memorial Hospital will be deposited into an account with the Decatur County Community Foundation. That money will be “seed money” toward construction of a new Community Building facility on the fairgrounds. Koors said citizens may make tax-deductible donations to the account if desired.

He also said that funding received through 2021’s C.A.R.E.S Act (the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021) will be used to partially fund the construction as well.

Plans for the new facility are in the initial phases, but Koors said that a preliminary sketch of the new structure included a heated and air-conditioned back room to seat 400 and offices in the front of the building for Purdue Extension educators.

The intent is to move the Purdue Extension offices to the front of the new Community Building. The old Extension building will be razed and the resulting space will be used for much-needed handicap parking for fair patrons. Koors said that there was not an immediate timeline for the project.

“We’ll wait and see how quickly the money comes in, but we can’t remove the existing building until the fair is over,” Koors said. “I’d love to have it up by next fair, but I don’t know if that’s possible.”

Maxwell Construction estimates the cost for the new facility is $1.2 million.

“I hope we can do it for a lot less. We’re looking for in-kind deals also,” Koors said. Other estimates are being investigated.

Commissioner Emsweller added that $115,000 of ARP (American Relief Plan) money will be spent for an exhaustive study of all the parcels on the grounds of the fairgrounds and the city pool to identify the most effective use and recommendations for improvement.

“We know that the horse people want to move out of that bottom area, is there somewhere better we could put them?” he asked.

The newly formed Decatur County Fair Committee will consist of new and existing personnel to be in charge of specific parts of the Decatur County Fair. They are:

Fair Rides: Kevin Crites

Track Events: Scott Best and Jim Ponsler

Vendors: Danny Peters and Bill Metz

Free Stage and Sponsors: Mark Koors

Decatur County Fair Parade: Chris Ramey

Miss Decatur County Fair Pageant: Barb Wechter

4-H and Extension: Christopher Fogle.

Commissioner Koors, when asked to comment on the past contention of the Fair Board and its recent dissolution, said, “We just want to move forward.”

Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-651-0876 or email bill.rethlake@greensburgdailynews.com

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