The Chadron City Council has approved spending over $80,000 in LB-840 sales tax money for a pair of community development projects: completing the interior of the new show barn at the fairgrounds and Christmas decorations along 3rd Street.
The fairgrounds project is the largest in terms of both total cost and LB-840 money at roughly $300,000 overall and $60,000 in community development funds.
The old wooden show barn suffered catastrophic structural damage when its roof collapsed in a 2019 blizzard. A replacement steel building opened last year, but without a wall between it and the existing events center.
A fire-resistant wall is needed to avoid installing an expensive fire-suppression sprinkler system.Fair Board member Casey Schuhmacher told the council the LB 840 money would go for the wall with a appropriate overhead door and new restrooms.
Schuhmacher and fellow Fair Board member Brooke Keim said there were several reasons the building hasn’t been finished yet.
The city funding is needed because while state and federal disaster funds are expected, those come as reimbursements after a project is finished.
Schuhmaker said about $11,000 in donations have been received with fundraisers planned, including a lawnmower raffle with tickets printed on Monday.
Chadron Centennial Inc asked for almost $23,000 for new lit Christmas decorations for each of the 42 light poles along 3rd Street/Hwy 20. George Klein told the council that after 27 years, the old wreaths need to be replaced.
The new decorations will be less expensive to operate because they use LED lights and Klein was able to get them while they were on sale at a sizable discount.
Chadron will have less than $20,000 in the Community Development Fund after the projects, but Mayor Mark Werner felt that was just fine.
About $2,500 goes into the fund each month with about $30,000 expected to be in by September.