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Public gets sneak peek of new Montgomery County fairgrounds

UPDATE @ 11:45 p.m.

News Center 7’s Lauren Clark tagged along with a Germantown family Monday night while they toured the new Montgomery County fairgrounds.

In addition to more than twice the acreage and significant parking space, there is a brand new event center and exhibit hall ready to be used year-round.

“We’ve been going to the fair for how many years? Ten, 12, with kids in 4-H, so this is a big upgrade,” said Jim Adkins, who said he was most impressed by the speed of the property’s transformation at 645 Infirmary Road in Jefferson Twp. after yearslong plans to move from its Dayton site.

“I knew what this looked like before and it’s amazing how much work they’ve done. It’s great,” Jacqueline Adkins said of the new fairgrounds, which was built on 150 acres.

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There was some nostalgia for what was left behind ... “I thought we were going to take the roundhouse with us,” she said. (Montgomery County is giving the institutions $2 million to restore and reuse the historic roundhouse, with other grants also available.) But there was more excitement about what’s new. “It’s big and it’s air-conditioned ... so you gotta love that.”

» AERIAL VIEWS: New Montgomery County Fairgrounds revealed in photos 

The fair board’s initial plans call for the construction of a grandstand. But until sponsors are in place, it will use temporary seating for events. For now, visitors and participants are expected to feel more comfortable in the larger space.

“We’ve got room. We’ve got room,” said John Yancik president of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society board that operates the fair. “The kids have got grass here to play. We’re going to have 32 different vendors which, at the other place, we couldn’t fit that number in. We’re going to have 25 rides. We just have room.”

EARLIER REPORT

The public is invited to take a sneak peek today from 6 to 8 p.m. inside the new Montgomery County Fairgrounds & Event Center. 

The inaugural use of the new fairgrounds at 645 Infirmary Road in Jefferson Twp. will run July 9-15 for the Montgomery County Fair. 

The new fairgrounds is being built on 150 acres.

“We are so pleased how everything is coming together, and we’re on target,” said John Yancik, Montgomery County Agricultural Society Board president. “The 166th edition of the fair truly will be new beginnings, new memories.”  

» MORE: Montgomery County Fair: Nothing but ‘odds and ends’ at Dayton location 

The main reason for tonight’s open house is to give 4-H families a chance to familiarize themselves with the fairgrounds layout and learn where they will be unloading and showing animals next month. Fair sponsors, public officials and the medial have also been invited to take a look tonight. 

After moving from its longtime home in Dayton, the fairgrounds first $15 million phase consists of two climate-controlled buildings, a 26,000-square-foot main event building and a 16,000-square-foot exhibit hall.  

“These buildings will be available for a myriad of events from weddings, meetings, craft and antique shows, to just about everything in between and plenty of parking too,” Yancik said. 

» PHOTOS: How Dayton fairgrounds could transform  

The fair board, which is seeking sponsors to help build a permanent grandstand, will use temporary seating for events in July. A number of tents will be used for other activities, he said. 

Construction on the new fairgrounds began in August with the role of general contractor jointly assumed by the Montgomery County Transportation Improvement District and the Agricultural Society Board. 

Premier Health and the University of Dayton finalized the purchase of the 38-acre Dayton site last April. The purchase price was $15 million, of which UD and Premier each agreed to pay $5.25 million.

Montgomery County is giving the institutions $2 million to restore and reuse the historic roundhouse. 

The Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority is contributing a $2.5 million state grant to revitalization efforts. 

The ownership partners of the former fairgrounds in downtown said recently it could take decades to fully redevelop the site.  

» RELATED: Former fairgrounds may not be fully redeveloped for 15 to 20 years 

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