More campsites at fairgrounds

(Posted June 3, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

With grant funding, camping accommodations at the Madison County fairgrounds in London are set to increase by 50 percent.

Late last month, the Madison County Agricultural Society (senior fair board) applied for $50,000 in funding from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) to install 47 new campsites with electricity behind the FFA Barn. The fairgrounds currently has 100 campsites total.

The ODA grant program is open to agricultural societies around the state. Funding is earmarked for capital improvements; it cannot be used for operational expenses, such as putting on a junior or senior fair. Madison County has received funding twice in recent years. In 2017, the funds covered the cost of paving, drainage, and horse stall improvements at the fairgrounds.

In the past, the ODA required grant winners to provide local matching dollars. No match is required this year.

Darrell Champer, president of the Madison County Ag Society, said he has received verbal approval of this year’s grant application. He is waiting on final paperwork to make it official. As soon as that comes through, he said work will begin.

The area behind the FFA Barn is already home to 20 campsites. Each of the additional 47 sites will measure 20×40 feet, the size needed for the Ag Society to license the fairgrounds as a state campground.

Besides the week of the fair and the weeks before and after it, other shows and events at the fairgrounds draw campers 10 to 15 weeks out of the year.

“That creates quite a bit of revenue,” he said–the more campsites, the more revenue potential. “It will be a good thing to have. There’s nothing close by.”

The ODA grant will cover permits, engineering, and installation of electricity for the campsites. The Madison County Engineer’s Office will donate labor and equipment to make necessary road and drainage improvements related to the project. The Ag Society also plans to use part of the ODA funds to purchase a mower for use throughout the grounds.

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