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By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
The barn is ready and the animals are poised to move in.
The T.M. Stanback Petting Barn will reopen Friday, June 15 following a 10 a.m. dedication ceremony at Dan Nicholas Park.
Children and families will soon start building new relationships with the dozens of new barnyard animals.
The new barn is opening nearly 15 months after a fire burned the original Stanback Petting Barn killing nearly four dozen animals in their cages. Investigators ruled the fire arson but no arrests have been made.
School groups, businesses and individuals across the county joined in a spontaneous effort to raise money to rebuild the barn. Others offered to donate animals.
The dedication ceremony will honor those who have contributed and worked replace the barn and animals.
William “Bill” Stanback who donated $100,000 will be out of town, but he’s already taken a close look at the facility which bears his father’s name.
“He’s well pleased,” said Don Bringle, county director of parks and recreation.
Stanback’s donation, plus nearly $200,000 from insurance and other contributors allowed the barn to be replaced without any tax dollars expended.
Bob Pendergrass, supervisor of the Nature and Learning Center has assembled a collection of animals.
As soon as the county inspections department gives the go-ahead the animals will be moved in.
Invitations have been mailed to dozens of supporters and officials, however the event is open to the public.
Jack Kepley, chairman of the Parks and Recreation Commission, and others will cut the ribbon opening the barn to the public.
The facility will open to the general public the following week.
Bringle said there will be a 50-cent admission charge to offset the costs of complying with health codes.
The park will offer a hand washing station as required by the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

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