New all-in-one building at Miami County Fairgrounds put on hold

County commissioners express concerns over timing, economy as they balance multiple other large construction projects

TROY — The Miami County commissioners said they will delay construction of a building for several agricultural-related agencies at the county Fairgrounds.

The commission had planned to seek bids this fall on the all-in-one administrative/exhibit building for the fair board/agricultural society along with other agencies, including the Ohio State University Extension Office, Farm Bureau and the Soil and Water Conservation District.

The main reason is the economy, the commissioners said.

“When we will do it has not been decided. I want to do it tomorrow, but I don’t think it’s the right thing to do right now,” said Commission President Ted Mercer.

In addition, he said, there has been a slowdown in county sales tax income, although it is too soon to see if that is a trend.

“Timing-wise, there is no way they would build it” in time to open for next summer’s fair, said Commissioner Wade Westfall.

He pointed out that commissioners Thursday opened bids for a chiller replacement project at the county Safety Building, with all five bids submitted at less than the project estimate. That outcome has not been experienced on project bidding for some time, he said.

The estimated cost for the all-in-one building was approximately $6.4 million. Plans were to use money from the American Rescue Plan Act, or ARPA, and county reserves.

Already underway are renovations to the fairgrounds’ more than 100-year-old grandstand, by Midwest Maintenance of Piqua. That project carries a $3,391,600 cost and is being paid for using money from both the county general fund and ARPA grants.

The commissioners said they are committed to the fairgrounds projects because they believe it was neglected over a number of years and to acknowledge the role agriculture continues to play in the county.

The grandstand is expected to be done by August’s county fair.

In addition, the county is building a One Stop Shop, also known as the Commerce Center, for vehicle-related agencies such as the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and county Title Office. The county will own this building, which is under construction off Ohio 55 and Barnhart Road in Troy.

The contract with Arcon Builders for the One Stop Shop was $6.27 million, with the commissioners last summer issuing more than $5 million in bond anticipation notes to pay a portion of the project. Some ARPA funds also may be used.

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