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Bids add to cost of new barn at fairgrounds

ROME TOWNSHIP — Only two construction companies have bid on the project to put up a new livestock barn and arena at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds. Both bids have now added an additional $200,000 to the project that fair board officials had planned on costing $400,000.

Bids were opened by the fair board on Monday.

The extra cost may mean the entire project won’t be completed by fair week in July, but fair board president Freddie Hayes said the new barn is still a reality.

“We are still going to build a barn,” Hayes said. “We may have to do it in phases, with bids coming in that high and no one from the county bidding, which is unbelievable.”

During fair week 2011, $400,000 in pledges were made to construct a 300-foot by 60-foot structure by next July. In early September Lawrence County Commissioners agreed to issue a 10-year bond for $400,000, acting as the fiscal agent for the fair board.

The commission required the fair board give the commission first mortgage on the $1.4 million fairgrounds; maintain all insurance on the property; establish an escrow account for the pledges; agree all pledges be made payable to the commission; accept responsibility for repayment of the bond, including interest and fees, through pledges and operating revenue.

With the price tag for the project going up by 50 percent, the fair board may seek a loan for the additional $200,000. Right now it is taking more pledges to cover the remainder.

Bidding on the project were Mullins Construction out of Portsmouth and a Jackson firm whose name was not available by press time.

“The Amish could have built the barn (for $400,000), but where there were so many regulations through the state, they couldn’t get a bond,” Hayes said.

Next week Rolo Construction and Excavating will start to tear down the current barn. Bob Calloway of Rolo is donating time and labor for the demolition.

“We are going to continue taking pledges,” Hayes said. “We will have a new barn.”

Those wanting to pledge may contact Hayes at 304-617-4499.