Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
By Jessie Burchette
The Rowan County Fair Association, which has operated the county fair for more than 50 years, is back in business.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a three-year lease on the county-owned fairgrounds on Julian Road.
The Fair Association will have control of the fairgrounds for three weeks each September. At other times, the Rowan County Tourism Development Authority will lease the property to various groups.
The Fair Association, which is made up of Spencer and Faith Jaycees, will pay the county 20 percent of admission receipts, guaranteeing a minimum of $25,000 per year.
The Fair Association will give the county $60,000 immediately and provide the remainder in increments following the fair each fall.
County officials said they expect to spend $50,000 to $60,000 to make improvements.
The Fair Association’s 50-year lease at $1 a year expired in November.
During the discussion, Commissioner Jim Sides questioned why there was no requirement for the Fair Association to hire law enforcement officers.
Chairman Arnold Chamberlain and Vice Chairman Chad Mitchell, who served on the committee that hammered out the contract, said it was an oversight.
Mitchell offered an addition to the contract that will require the Fair Association to provide officers as specified in the Tourism and Development Authority agreement.
Officials of the Fair Association, sitting in the audience, indicated they agreed with the change.
Commissioners also agreed that the county will likely have to spend money to improve the facilities.
In another matter, Chamberlain announced at the beginning of the meeting that a planned discussion of a rezoning on Sherrills Ford Road would not be on the agenda.
Chamberlain told the audience that Nelson Lingle had withdrawn his request.
Lingle sought to build mini-warehouses on an area currently zoned residential.