With hopes of securing a State Parks grant, the Band of Brothers plan to rebuild and update the flag pole area at the Crook County Fairgrounds

by: JASON CHANEY - Crook County Fairgrounds manager Casey Daly (left) joins fair board chair Gail Merritt and Band of Brothers events coordinator Bob Ervin (right) in examining the damaged flag display at the Crook County Fairgrounds. The structure is slated for a rebuild later this year.

Just inside the main entrance to the Crook County Fairgrounds rests a concrete monument bearing three flag poles.

The decorative and patriotic fixture that occupies a portion of the roadway just west of the fairgrounds office is shrouded in shrubs and plants, and has likely drawn the eyes of many a visitor since joining the property around 2000.

The problem is, the concrete is cracked, broken, and in need of repairs.

“It was built off site in sections,” said fairgrounds manager Casey Daly, “The foundation probably wasn’t done as well as it could have been.”

That could soon change as work is now under way to tear down the existing structure and rebuild a new and enhanced fixture. The idea first originated when the local Band of Brothers organization decided they wanted to take on the project.

“Bob Ervin (Band of Brothers events coordinator) approached us about rebuilding it and we said we would be open to it,” Daly said. “They were going to try to mitigate any costs that we had.”

Fellow veteran George McCart then drew up plans for the replacement structure. The three flag poles will remain, however the new plans call for a sidewalk that cuts through the middle of the fixture. To the west of the walkway, visitors would find a bench. On the other side they will find the flag poles, but that’s not all. Behind the poles would rest a stone wall with plaques commemorating all the branches of the U.S. armed forces.

“We wanted to build a new thing out there,” Ervin said. “We are doing it so we can be proud of the entrance to our fairgrounds.”

To finance the project, the fairgrounds board and staff hope to secure a State Parks grant in conjunction with the Band of Brothers. As they work on the grant, McCart will complete work on the foundation plans.

“As soon as we put all of those pieces together, Band of Brothers is going to come down and donate labor time,” Daly said.

They will have to wait out the fairgrounds’ busy season as well.

“We don’t want to tear it up in the summertime,” Ervin said. “What we’d like to do is get the funds and everything ready to go, so that maybe the first of October, we can be ready to dive into it.”

Daly said he is excited by the project, and after presenting the proposal to the fair board recently, they share in his enthusiasm.

“I think it is a wonderful project,” said board chair Gail Merritt, “because it will represent our veterans, plus it will enhance the fairgrounds.”

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