THE LOCAL NEWS OF THE MADISON VALLEY, RUBY VALLEY AND SURROUNDING AREAS

County discusses fair logistics

VIRGINIA CITY—At their July 3 meeting, the Madison County commissioners considered a wide array of topics, the most time-sensitive of which concern additions and work on the Madison County fairgrounds. Progress is being made on the addition of a new indoo

VIRGINIA CITY—At their July 3 meeting, the Madison County commissioners considered a wide array of topics, the most time-sensitive of which concern additions and work on the Madison County fairgrounds. Progress is being made on the addition of a new indoor arena to the fairgrounds and deliberations are underway as to solving the problem of a broken watermain under the river near the grounds. 

An earlier agenda item was a request from Dave Magistrelli for the county to support building by Habitat for Humanity in Madison County. Magistrelli is the executive director for Habitat of Gallatin Valley, and sought monetary support from the County for a project building a couple of homes or apartments in the North 40 area. A final decision wasn’t made at Tuesday’s meeting, but Commissioner James Hart says the County’s interests in such a project would be twofold.

“Obviously, there’s a housing shortage in Madison County in general, and in particular a housing shortage for nursing homes, for nurses and other traveling caretakers,” says Hart. “We just have to decide if it would be feasible and appropriate for the county to get involved in that project.” If the request was approved, Habitat for Humanity would receive some aid in building those houses from the county, which would get repaid when those houses were finished and sold.  The commissioners plan to check with other towns or communities that have sponsored Habitat for Humanity projects to learn more about the potential.

The first of the pressing county fair issues was that of the new indoor arena. Estimates were provided to the Madison County Fair Board back in June by Helena-based SMA Architects, and a decision must be made as to which option to pursue. The first option was a non-furnished arena that would be used mostly for livestock and fair events. The second—and far more expensive—option, would be fully insulated, with a commercial kitchen and restrooms. This could be a boon for the county, though, as such a facility could be used for public events such as weddings and rented out for use by the public.

So, the public is exactly who’s being commissioned to assist with that decision. The commissioners approved that a pamphlet will be available at a booth at next month’s county fair in order to allow Madison County residents to give their input as to what they’d like to see of the new facility. 

“We need to find out from the public what they’d be willing to financially assist in building,” says Hart. “We have some questions to answer yet, and we need the public to help us do that.”

Another key decision to be made for the fairgrounds is how to go about fixing the broken water main under the Beaverhead River abutting the fairgrounds property. The broken main means that it will be a challenge to have enough potable drinking water at the fair, so bottled water will be for sale during fair weekend in August. A well at the fairgrounds will provide livestock and restroom water for that time, but plans must be made for fixing the main, which likely won’t be possible in time for the fair itself. But fortunately, the county has some emergency funding available to help make the necessary repairs.

The final item on the commission’s agenda was a final estimate from the county custodial department on the cost of several cleaning and repair projects that will soon take place in several of the county’s buildings. The Virginia City library, old courthouse and administration building as well as the county’s dispatch, public health and Department Of Revenue are in need of window cleaning as well as carpet cleaning and some light fixture repairs. Altogether, says Hart, the final estimate for all of those projects in all the relevant buildings comes to $3,500. Repairs and custodial work will take place later this summer.

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