With chipped paint and broken bleachers, the South Bannock County Fairgrounds are in rough shape with just a few weeks until the fair. We spoke with the director of Public Works to find out their plan of action for tackling the tasks.
“Our number one priority is public safety,” said Dan Copeland, the Director of Bannock County Public Works.
Copeland and his crew spent the afternoon at the fairgrounds, meeting with builders, looking at electrical and plumbing, and trying to come up with a plan.
“We’re looking at the whole thing from ground up,” he told us.
They would love to start working on projects like building a new bathroom, getting new grandstands, but what it all boils down to is everyone’s least favorite word… budget.
Tamara Code, a candidate for Commissioner told us of the complains she’s heard, “They all say kind of the same thing. That they get promises and nothing happens. They believe all the money is going to the Pocatello fairgrounds and not coming down here and that's a budget issue.”
Budget is absolutely the issue, but not because the money is getting spent elsewhere, but because there wasn’t a whole lot budgeted to begin with. We’re already working in the 2014 fiscal year and the Commissioners brought these issues to Public Works only about 3 weeks ago. But the good news is, Public Works doesn’t see many projects being big dollar designs, rather some good old fashioned elbow grease, and they’re just the crew for the job.
“The advantage they have by bringing the fairgrounds under the umbrella of Public Works is that we have a lot more resources to draw from, and resources meaning not just dollars,” said Copeland.
They are prepared to get a little creative, bring on some more man power, find a little equipment, and get these fairgrounds whipped in to shape before the first corn dog is fried.
“We’ll do the best with it what we can I’ll guarantee you that,” Copeland added.
Dan also told us that they plan on putting a proposal together after this fair season to hopefully budget some of the bigger projects they are hoping to get done, so with any luck, the South Bannock County Fairgrounds will only get better and better in years to come.