Most grounds projects on track for 2023 Great Northern Fair
Replacement of western bathrooms on hold until next year
Last updated 4/19/2023 at 11:06am
The Great Northern Fair Board provided an update on all ongoing projects during its monthly meeting Tuesday and confirmed that the most expensive project will be delayed a year.
Members of the board and Fairgrounds Manager Frank English said all but one of their projects are on track, the exception being the new bathrooms on the west side of the grounds, a project they are more than $200,000 short of being able to fund.
English said new toilets have been installed in the Bigger Better Barn and he is working with Loch Electric to install overhead heating and new breakers in the 4-H display building so it can be used for the fair.
He said a new roof and power supply will also be installed in the next two weeks, and after that, he will begin working on the new drywall, paint and air conditioning.
He also said bids for the repair of the horse barn’s roof will be awarded before May 5, with work beginning shortly after that.
Aside from those projects, English said, he’s also been working on pumping the water out of the lower arena and areas of road, which have potholes he’s also working on fixing.
Board Vice-Chair Bob Kaul said there is a lot of maintenance work going on on the grounds as they try to head off problems before they happen.
“We’re trying to get ahead instead of always playing catchup,” he said.
Board Chair Michelle Burchard said all these projects are on schedule and they are on track with their expenditures and revenue estimates as well.
However, Burchard said, they are still well short of being able to get the western bathrooms done, and Kaul said the project will definitely not be done by the next fair.
When asked about the project during public comments, Burchard said even if they had spent every cent they had, they’d still need to fundraise to cover the costs, so they instead used their funds to get a bunch of other critical projects going, and after they are done, they’ll refocus on fundraising for the western bathrooms.
Kaul said they’re thinking of trying to get the Great Northern Fair Foundation active again and see if they can help them fundraise as the board continues to look for grants that may help the project.
During public comments representatives from the Havre Jaycees asked about the arena’s sound system, saying they had a lot of trouble at last year’s fair, and they’d like to avoid that this year.
English and the board said they have a new and improved sound system and they will make sure that things are prepared for the Jaycees this year.
During the meeting English and Burchard also said they will be going to a Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs event where they will tour other fairgrounds and discuss ideas with other organizations like theirs.