It was the first of three hurdles this proposed project has to pass in order to ever break ground. Two commissioners voted in favor, but the third commissioner had to abstain his vote because he is on the county's Fair Board, which is the group proposing the project. It seems many are in favor of improving what community leaders call their largest attraction in the county.
The Gibson County Fairgrounds become one step closer to getting a multimillion dollar upgrade after County Commissioners vote in favor of a major project proposed by the Fair Board.
"I think it's good for the community. Yes it's expensive, yes it's going to take TIFF funds, but we have insurance now that if they debunk it returns back," says Commissioner President, Gerald Bledsole. He says he feels it's what the community wants. "I like to go out in the community, and the rest of the gentlemen do too, to find out what the opinion is all over the county, instead of just the community or town," says Bledsole.
Commissioners turned down the original proposal for an 8.6 million dollar project, lowering the budget to 5.5 million, instead. Fair Board members say they are just happy to see the project move forward. "I'm going to sit down, crunch some numbers, and see what we can do," says Fair Board member and project manager, Jeff Clark.
Clark says this project is a major one helping improve the grounds infrastructure, build new event centers, a new 4-H center, and help what members call the county's largest attraction, serve the community year round instead of just a few months out of the year.
"I'm excited, I'm very, very, happy for the county. I hope we get to move on throughout Redevelopment, and move on back to the Commissioners. I feel like it's a great project," says Clark.
Gibson County Commissioners say another reason this project was approved, the state of Indiana declared the fairgrounds a disaster relief area, making improvements even more vital.
The proposal will now go in front of the county's Redevelopment Commission for yet another vote. A date for that vote has not yet been set.