Miami County fairground buildings under structural review by engineers

James Mingus, 17, of West Milton brings in his sleep after a washing during preparation for the Miami County Fair in Troy on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.
James Mingus, 17, of West Milton brings in his sleep after a washing during preparation for the Miami County Fair in Troy on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.

Credit: Staff photo by Teesha McClam

Credit: Staff photo by Teesha McClam

CONCORD TWP., Miami County – The Miami County commissioners have ordered an assessment of county fairgrounds buildings by a structural engineering firm following the chief building official’s review of some structures.

Commissioners discussed the review of a sheep barn and grandstand, among other structures at the fairgrounds located just north of Troy, with Rob England, county chief building official, April 15.

Following the review, the 308 Sheep Barn was declared an unsafe building in a notice dated April 12.

It will be blocked off with caution tape and no trespassing signs posted, England said. The development department adjudication order stated the barn’s “rafters are racking severely … posts have shifted off of footings … bracings are separating.”

The order calls for the issues identified to be corrected with a suggestion of consulting a structural engineer first.

The grandstand shows several issues, England said. They include the structure and its restrooms.

“There are steel clear span trusses that are completely separating. The rivets used years ago have disintegrated,” he told commissioners.

The restrooms show evidence of leaking from above and signs of numerous patches over the years.

The “restrooms at the fairgrounds are in terrible condition. The water has caused black mold inside, the interior ceilings are collapsing, They are basically not useable at this point,” England said.

He showed a series of photos of restrooms on the grounds including lack of handicapped access and ones with no doors on individual stalls.

The north horse barn also is in “dire need of attention,” England said pointing to a leaking ceiling and rotting wood.

The commissioners last month toured the fairgrounds with fair Manager Nick Shellenberger in part to review the secretary’s office where a ceiling had earlier collapsed, Commissioner Wade Westfall said. Afterward, they reached out to England to request a review of structures.

The county is hiring Shell and Meyer structural engineers of Dayton to review the structures, said Chris Johnson, acting county administrator.

“We felt it was important we look at the structures. We are going to have to fix these issues. It is going to take time and it is going to take money,” Commissioner Ted Mercer said. “This is years and years of neglect.”

The county owns most of the land where the fairgrounds are located with the agricultural society owning the rest.

“In defense of the agricultural society, the fair board, they have done their absolute best over the decades of trying to Band-Aid this together,” Westfall said.

Commissioner Greg Simmons said the possibility of using some of the COVID relief money coming to the county for some fairgrounds work. The county is scheduled to receive around $21 million but when that money will arrive and the guidelines for its use have not been received, county Auditor Matt Gearhardt said.

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