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Fairgrounds group begins ‘building for future’

The Harrison County Commissioners heard plans for improvements and additions to the county fairgrounds during a morning meeting yesterday (Tuesday).
Gary Geswein, chairman of the Master Site Plan for the Harrison County Fairgrounds located in Corydon, made the presentation for the site plan committee, which dubbed itself ‘Harrison County Fairgrounds: Honoring the past, building for the future.’
The site plan committee was formed to gather input for the fairgrounds. Ideally, the committee would like the fairgrounds to have at least one building that would be available for use year round.
‘We want to hang on to some things and improve in other areas,’ said Geswein.
The committee has suggested to obtain an outside consultant to set up a master plan for the fairgrounds, home to the oldest, continuous county fair in Indiana.
‘After three meetings, we realized we needed help,’ said Geswein.
They have contracted Don Anderson of Purdue University as the facilitator of the project to do a survey and plan of the facility. Geswein said the study would cost between $20,000 and $25,000. Jim Epperson, executive director of the Harrison County Convention & Visitors Bureau, has agreed to fund the study.
The committee ‘ consisting of Geswein, Epperson, Tom Casper, Wanda Chinn, Brian Engleman, Nancy Casada, Archie Sauerheber and Barbara Middleton ‘ wants input from the public. There will be a meeting Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. at Corydon Presbyterian Church.
‘We want ideas,’ said Geswein, who has been involved with FFA, whose members often have exhibits at the county fair. ‘We want suggestions.’
‘You’re doing a great thing getting everyone together, organizing this and moving forward,’ said Commissioner J.R. Eckart.
According to a release by the fairgrounds site plan committee, discussions began last summer with various organizations, all with ownership, participatory or stakeholder interest in the Harrison County Fair and its property, the fairgrounds. The purpose of these discussions was to foster a cooperative approach to the scheduling of the fair and other events to meet the needs of many partners in the use of the facilities. A joint committee, made up of these partners, worked together to address scheduling needs and reached a solution, agreed to by all partners, for more effective use of the facilities in and around the week of the Harrison County Fair.
The partners in the project include the Harrison County Agriculture Society, Purdue Extension Service ‘ Harrison County Extension Board, Harrison County 4-H Council, Harrison County Extension Homemakers, Harrison County FFA, Chamber of Commerce of Harrison County, and the Harrison County CVB.
‘This is the first time this kind of (joint) arrangement has been done,’ Geswein said.
Representatives of the Master Site Plan will make a similar presentation at some point to the Harrison County Council.