Board considers selling fairground
By Lee Barnes
The Rowan County Fair Association is going back to the drawing board in its attempt to buy the fairgrounds from the county.
Monday, fair officials asked the Rowan County Commissioners to consider selling the association 40 acres used for the county fair for something in the neighborhood of $12,500 per acre. The association currently leases the fairgrounds, with next year’s fair being the final one under the terms of the current lease.
Commissioners Chairman Carl Ford said the sales price the association is asking for is too low.
“The price needs to be higher, maybe quite a bit higher,” he said. He said that as an interim measure, the commissioners should work on extending the lease instead.
The last time the matter of possibly selling the fairgrounds came up ó well before the current recession ó county officials said the land was worth as much as $100,000 to $150,000 an acre.
Commissioner Tina Hall questioned the association’s credibility, saying that its board of directors includes members of the Spencer Jaycees. With the Spencer Jaycees under a state investigation involving embezzlement, she said, why should the group be represented on the fair’s board?
Fair officials said that although members of the Spencer Jaycees serve on the board, they don’t have controlling votes and don’t have access to the fair’s money.
All sides seem to agree that the fair needs to have a permanent home. Fair officials said that the livestock show at the Rowan fair is the largest of any county fair in the state.
The commissioners agreed to have a county delegation meet with the association to decide what’s best for the fair, and report back to the county.