(Posted May 3, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The horse arena at the Madison County Fairgrounds will have a roof over its head in plenty of time for this year’s county fair, scheduled for July 9-15.
Golden Giant Building Systems out of Kenton, Ohio, is galloping straight toward the target completion date of June 5. Crews began work on March 13.
The open-sided pavilion measures 300×125 feet and stands 16 feet tall at the eaves and 27 feet tall at its peak. It covers the entire expanse of the existing horse arena.
A roofed pavilion will reduce the impact of bad weather on horse shows, which is beneficial not only for fair week but attractive to outside equine groups interested in renting the facility other times of the year.
“We’ve been contacted by just about every major breed and show organization, looking to book dates with us next year,” said Duane Powell, a Madison County Senior Fair Board member and point person on the equine pavilion project.
Fundraisers and county dollars are covering the cost of the $305,400 structure. For every dollar raised privately, the Madison County commissioners are matching two dollars in county funds.
“This has been a community-based, business-based and, of course, commissioner-based effort,” Powell said. “So many people and groups have really helped out.”
Among them is the Madison County chapter of the Ohio Horseman’s Council.
“They have been behind us from day one, supporting us when this was just a pie-in-the-sky idea,” Powell said.
In addition to supporting the pavilion project, the horseman’s group has donated a timer for timed contests, a drag to prepare the arena floor for competition, other contest equipment, and cash contributions.
The Madison County Equine Committee is another big supporter, holding fund-raisers and selling concessions to benefit the pavilion project and the equine program in general. Under the fairboard umbrella, the group consists primarily of parents of active 4-Hers.
Area businessman Tom Coughlin has supplied the largest business contribution to the arena improvements, having given over $60,000 to date, Powell said. The Madison County Engineer’s Office is providing support in the form of paving projects and rerouted traffic flow around the pavilion and elsewhere on the fairgrounds.
Project organizers continue to raise funds. Those interested in making a donation can sponsor a rail around the arena for $100, $150, $200 or $300, for rails running bottom to top. Flat donations are accepted, as well. To contribute, make checks out to “MCJFSC Building Fund” and mail them to Duane Powell’s attention at 205 Taylor Blair Rd., West Jefferson, OH 43062.