A project to replace the poultry barn destroyed by fire at the Washington County Fairgrounds is inching forward.
During the early morning hours of April 29, a fire claimed the barn that, during fair time, would have 4-Hers and others displaying chickens and turkeys.
It also served as the home of the River City Farmers Market on Saturdays throughout the year. Since the fire, farmers market vendors have found a temporary home under the grandstand at the fairgrounds. The vendors also have the Floral Hall available (below the roller rink), if weather requires its use.
"I think it's really awesome that they are trying to get a new building so we can still show our chickens," said Maddie Treadway, 18, a recent graduate of Warren High School and member of the Churchtown Busy Bunch 4-H Club. "It would be a lot harder if we had to find somewhere to display. A new building would be pretty nice."
Treadway said even if the fair board used a temporary structure for the chickens, it should have good ventilation and air flow to prevent their chickens from dying as some did a few years ago because of the heat.
"It's a great experience to show and sell them," she said.
Architect David Haught met with Washington County Commissioners and Washington County Fair Board representatives Thursday with proposed schematics describing location, size and site requirements for a new facility on or near the same spot as the former structure.
Haught said as he started to research and formulate the site requirements as well as the building possibilities, the existing concrete slab was the starting point. He also kept in mind trying to design it as close to what it was, keeping costs down and keep the speed going to get it completed.
Haught's firm, DLH Designs, was awarded the design contract after commissioners accepted its $6,500 bid on May 23.
"We are a little bit in limbo as to how we can move forward," Haught said Thursday.
Of the three options Haught presented, Commission President David White said the best option so far is to wet-proof the structure and raise it five feet to help address floodplain regulations.
"If we meet the 5-foot grade, we could meet the variances, that would be exactly like the other cattle barn," said fair board member Richard Henthorn.
In 2004, the Washington Country Fair Board cattle barn was rebuilt with a variety of variances because it was in the 100-flood plain, Henthorn said.
According to the website for the Whole Building Design Guide, www.wbdg.org, wet flood proofing involved using water-resistant materials in construction, raising the structure, allowing water to flow in and out and be at the same pressure to greatly reduce damage and temporarily relocating items inside the structure.
White said agencies such as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will need to approve any plans, ideas or variances moving forward. Locally, the Washington County Planning Commission also must get involved on the necessary variances.
No definite cost of construction has been attached to the project yet.
To get construction completed for fair time in late August "is absolutely impossible with our guidelines and advertising for bids. There's no way that thing's going to be built in time for the fair," White said.
Moreover, White said construction would take at least 120 days.