Representatives of Hill County 4-H met with the Hill County Fair Board Tuesday to talk about a new project: negotiating a new long-term lease for a new Chuckwagon at the Great Northern Fairgrounds
"The Livestock Committee has come up with an initial plan for a new Chuckwagon …, " Livestock Committee Chair Lon Waid said, "It's strictly preliminary. We're basically just trying to start out with the size. "
Waid said the plans are to put the new building in essentially the same place as the existing facility, where Hill County 4-H serves concessions at the Great Northern Fair.
4-H is looking at building a multi-use facility which would include a commercial kitchen with a 300-person seating capacity. Waid added that to meet code the building would also have to include restrooms.
The initial plans are for the building to be much larger, Waid said: 50 feet wide north-to-south, compared to the current 24-foot wide dimensions, and 140 feet long, with the current building being 120 feet plus a 20-foot expansion added in the 1970s.
Hill County 4-H is the only group that owns its own building at the fairgrounds, rather than leasing use from the fairboard. The board, decades ago, agreed to exempt the youth organization from paying a percentage of its take from fair concessions due to its owning the building and paying its own electrical bills and in exchange for the work 4-H members do in maintaining their facilities and putting on fair events.
Waid said 4-H would like to maintain that agreement for the fair, but would be willing to discuss paying a percentage if it serves concessions at other events.
"We're throwing this out here to get some of your thoughts on this and talk about an agreement, " Waid said.
Hill County Extension Agent Lee Ann Larson said similar facilities see high use in other counties — much for 4-H use including as a range for archery or air-gun shooting, but the facilities also are rented by other groups. One facility she knows of that is similar to the proposed size, but without a kitchen, generally is used six days a week by 4-H, and also is rented out, she said.
Larson said she thinks the building would be an asset for the fair.
"It definitely would be a huge asset to our program, " she said.
Solomon said it would be a major improvement to the fairgrounds and supports it as such, but said how much it would be used might be questionable. The Community Building at the fairgrounds sees little use other than the fair outside of some weekends during the summer, he said.
The board agreed to recommend 4-H, working with Solomon, draft a proposed long-term lease agreement for the space which can then be reviewed by the Hill County sttorney.