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Fairground site for Stark County 'on the road'

The Stark County Park Board will grant the fair association two easements onto 34 acres of frontage property the county owns west of Fairway Street that will go up for sale.

"We finally got this on the road," said Arnie Binek with the Stark County Park Board after the board approved the motion at its meeting Tuesday at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson. "We're getting closer."

The easements are also contingent upon the entities that have said they will work together to establish a fairgrounds, which includes the Roughrider Commission, Stark County Fair Board, Stark County Commission, Dickinson State University, DSU Foundation, and possibly the city of Dickinson, the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau and Stark County Development Corp., with all signing a one-year, renewable agreement stating they will work together.

The public easements, one along Fairway Street and another further south, will lead onto the parcel of land east of the fair association's more than 50-acre property it acquired to create a fairgrounds on the west side of Dickinson near the site of the new hospital.

Developer Five Diamond Fund Managers LLC of Draper, Utah, which has a $3.8 million contract with the fair association to create a fairground, will have the chance at a June 4 public auction during the Stark County Commission's meeting at the courthouse to bid on the property.

After the sale, the funds will go to the park board, which will determine how the money will be distributed.

Five Diamond's plans are contingent upon its purchase of the frontage property, according to its proposal for the development of the Stark County Fairgrounds.

If Five Diamond does not end up the highest bidder, the hope is that whoever acquires the land will grant the easements to the fair association so the association can access the property.

According to Five Diamonds' proposal for the development of the Stark County Fairgrounds, there would be no cost to Stark County taxpayers and the fair association.

The DSU Foundation was also approached by a potential donor last September about a 55-acre property 2 miles south of Dickinson.

Fair association spokesperson Sandra Kuntz, the DSU Foundation and the groups organizing to deal with the lan, said groups with an interest in the fairgrounds have met to talk about pooling resources and made a wish list.

On the wish list are both indoor and outdoor arenas, an outdoor warm-up and roping arena, exhibition hall and an event center.

"The wish list includes a recreation of what exists on the east side of State (Avenue)," she said. "The foundation was approached with the option of land available south of town that would be part of a gift annuity that they are coordinating that will provide the actual dirt."