Hicks leading parade; tower site considered

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

As the nine eventful days of the 2007 Putnam County Fair approach, details of the countywide event are being released to include the naming of the parade grand marshal.

Country singer Matt Hicks will lead off this year's parade, and will perform a concert at the Putnam County Fairgrounds following the parade.

Hicks, a 2006 South Putnam graduate, has been expanding his performance schedule and working on his solo career, including the release of a music CD.

The fair parade is set for Friday, July 20, leaving the intersection of Wood and Washington streets at 6 p.m. and reaching the courthouse square at 6:30 p.m.

While Hicks will start off the parade, a group of about 50 Volkswagens will be bringing up the rear.

The Putnam County Fair Board heard those details Monday as it also considered a land lease agreement for a cell phone tower and approved a new facility rental policy.

If approved, the tower agreement could bring more than $420,000 to the fairgrounds during a 30-year lease.

Board president Ken Heeke reviewed the proposed lease document, that shows the first five years of the lease at $9,600, with up to five additional five-year extensions for the tower site and increases in the rental amount.

Board members agreed that the project could add some needed revenue to their budget for coming years.

A decision on the agreement was tabled pending attorney review and approval by the USDA, which has a mortgage on a portion of the fairgrounds property.

Meanwhile, groups who want to rent any of the fairgrounds facilities will soon be under stricter guidelines after the board approved a new policy Monday.

A portion of the policy is aimed at reducing the number of no-show groups who reserve building space throughout the year, but do not have all of their scheduled meetings. The board has noted that those no-shows equal lost revenue since the space might have been rented to another group that would have paid for that date.

The new policy calls for groups, such as 4-H clubs, to pay a $125 deposit to ensure they will use the community building. If the group wants to cancel a meeting, 30-days notice must be given or the deposit will be forfeited.

The deposit may cause a hardship for some smaller clubs, extension educator Lauralee Baugh noted, but it will make them more responsible about their meeting schedules.

Facility bookings will be handled by groundskeeper Steve Hurst.

The policy goes into effect Aug. 1.

In other business, the Fair Board:

* Set Smoke Free Day at the fair for July 25.

* Learned volunteers are needed for the June 30 truck pull at the fairgrounds.

* In the financial report, saw the finances are in the negative $9,000. However, income for the fair is already starting to come in.

* Heard a complaint from Ty Sutherlin about how events are scheduled to share the fairgrounds.

* Received a $6,000 check toward premiums and ribbons for the county fair from the 4-H Council.

* Heard that 112 4-H'ers participated in the Youth Pork Quality Assurance certification session on June 18. That included several first-year and several 10-year members. Additional certification sessions are set for 10-11 a.m. Monday, July 9 and 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, July 10 at the extension office.

* Agreed the executive committee can take care of a needed air conditioning repair for Harris Hall.

* Heard 140 head of dairy cows are entered in the Dairy Barn for the fair.

* Learned 10 4-H'ers will be participating in the Putnam County USA Exchange program July 5-8. The Junior Leaders will be visiting Putnam Counties in Missouri and Illinois.

* Was reminded that project judging sessions for the Exhibit Hall have been split into a session from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 and 9 a.m.-noon Friday, July 20.

* Learned donations are still be accepted for the premiums awarded to 4-H'ers for their entries in the fair. Anyone wanting to donate can contact the extension office at 654-8411.

The next meeting of the fair board is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, July 16 in the community building. That meeting is open to the public.

The executive committee will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, July 9 in the community building.

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