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Fairgrounds staff to add new gazebo

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Structure is intended to draw more visitors to the north side of the county fairgrounds

HOLLY SCHOLZ - The new gazebo will be located on the grassy portion of the fairgrounds just inside the north entrance.

Since completion of the local Open Campus building, the north side of the Crook County Fairgrounds hasn't seen as much activity as previous years.

Fairgrounds leaders hope to change that with the addition of a new gazebo, and thanks to recent grant funding, they hope to complete the project later this year.

"At fair, we struggle to get people down to the north end," said Fairgrounds Manager Casey Daly. "The major hub of the fair is the lawn and the barns."

Buildings on the north portion of the grounds include Carey Foster Hall, the Clover Building, the building that hosts the Ochoco Valley Railroad Club, and the facility that houses the Grimes Christmas Display. Some of these buildings are used during the fair, including the Clover Building, which is where local 4-H members show their static exhibits.

"They struggle to get people to visit their exhibits," Daly said.

To prepare the area for a new structure, fairgrounds staff removed the asphalt and concrete from what used to be Cain Hall. They brought in fill dirt and planted some grass, leaving the fairgrounds leaders to brainstorm what they should build on the location. The group ultimately decided to build a gazebo and incorporate some technological items including touch screens that enable visitors to view the history of the fair, the fairgrounds and the Crooked River Roundup and Horse Races.

Daly said they asked local contractor Lance Romine to complete some drawings, which staff presented to the fair board.

"They liked the idea," Daly recalls.

With a plan in place, fairgrounds leaders needed funding for project, and they found it with the Facebook Community Action Grant program. Each year, the tech company offers up $100,000 in grant funds for projects that put the power of technology to use for community benefit and to connect people, improve education and promote local economic development.

"We thought it would be a good fit," Daly said.

Facebook agreed, awarding the fairgrounds $10,050 of a maximum $15,000 per project. Afterward, Daly spoke with the tech company further about the project and what fairgrounds leaders hope to accomplish.

"We talked to them about including some solar panels on it and some technology inside it," he recalls, "maybe a charging station, some self-guided kiosks and some other things so it can be used year-round."

The structure will likely feature three walls enclosing a space that Daly expects to be roughly 20 by 20 feet. The fourth side will remain open, although capable of being secured if necessary. He hopes to break ground late this summer and hopefully complete the project by September or October.

"It will be a nice little getaway," Daly said.