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Fair Board continues planning for a fairground

DICKINSON - At Wednesday's regular monthly Stark County Fair Association meeting, board members continued discussing options for the development of a piece of fair board property on the west side of Dickinson.

During a telephone interview, Kurt Froelich, chairperson of the fair board, said board members designated two committees during the meeting to concentrate on planning for developing the property into a fairground.

One group is made up of the executive officers of the fair board - Froelich, Vice Chair Kevin Stockert, Secretary Preston Obrigewitsch, and Bob Zent, who is treasurer.

The facility planning committee is made up of Bob Procive, Ken Lefor and Terri Thiel, who are all board members.

Froelich said this group will use the information gathered in a Community Discussions Report to further develop plans for a fairground.

The report is a compilation of data and ideas gathered during public input meetings held in January and February. The meetings allowed Stark County residents to voice opinions on what should be done with the land.

During a telephone interview, Thiel said Procive and Lefor are going to be studying the topography of the area to see what, if any, facilities could be placed there.

"We need to take a look at the land out there," Thiel said. "We have some challenges."

She added that she will concentrate on finances.

"I'm going to start to explore different options as far as getting additional moneys," Thiel said.

Froelich added that funding needs to be considered, but the board probably will not pursue additional funding until they have a better idea of what will be done with the land.Although the board is definitely looking into possibly of developing the property, Thiel and Froelich emphasized that no final decisions have been made regarding any part of a project to develop the area.

"We don't have a preconceived plan," Thiel said. "An indoor use facility would be wonderful...but we can't say that at this time."

She and Froelich agreed that there is still a great deal of planning involved before the fair board can decide what will be done with the land.

"The next step is that those executive officers will meet with some of the contacts to public organizations that might or might not want to be involved," Thiel said.

Froelich said he and the rest of the executive officers plan to get in touch with Dickinson Parks and Recreation, Dickinson State University, the Roughrider Commission and other area entities to explore possible partnerships and get a better look at the future of the proposed project.

"There's a lot of people out there that may be partners that we're not aware of," Froelich said.

He added that meeting with other organizations may not only develop partnerships, but it may also bring new ideas to the table.

"In visiting with these different organizations, they may have something...that did not surface during those public input meetings," Froelich said. "It's kind of just another round of gathering input to do a very thorough job."

It may seem like a lot of preparation for a project that doesn't even seem to have a shape yet, but Froelich and Thiel said it is all part of a necessary planning process.

"The fair board feels these are the next steps that need to be taken before we can do anything else," Froelich said. "It's a slow process and we want to make sure it's done correctly and give everybody an opportunity to see and listen and provide input."

Thiel added the board still welcomes ideas for the property.

"We're always open to public input," Thiel said. "We want them to always feel like they can come in and visit with any board member with thoughts and ideas."