Wadestown fair building gets lift with grant funds

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Local lawmakers have secured $60,000 from the local Economic Development Assistance Grant program to construct a new Wadestown Fair Building.

From Left to Right- Monongalia County Commissioner Jeff Arnett; Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom; Delegate Joe Statler; Senator Charlie Clements; President of the Clay Battelle FFA Alumni Association Keith Watson and Monongalia County Commissioner Sean Sikora

Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, and Delegate Dave Pethel, D-Wetzel, passed on a $10,000 of the grant and $25,000 each was donated by Senator Charlie Clements, R-Wetzel, and Mike Maroney, R-Marshall.

“That so far is the biggest one we’ve written (the check) and we’re glad it’s a good thing for that part of the community,” Clements said.

Clay-Battelle FFA Alumni Association President Keith Watson said the existing barn was built in 1927 and in his words, “is a little tired.”

The proposed wood framed, steel-skinned barn would have 11,500-square feet of space with a large livestock show ring. The building would also have utilities and WIFI giving it the capability to host other FFA or 4-H events.

“Just the building shell we’re at nearly $278,000 and with the concrete, electrical and plumbing that we need, we’re trying to keep this figure under $500,000 on this building.”

The Monongalia County Commission has also agreed to allocate $150,000 to the project, and that number could change based on need.

Delegate Statler is one of the founders of Monongalia County Fair Livestock Show and Auction and a lifelong participant and supporter of agriculture in the county. Statler said he is willing to consider additional grants in the future.

“It’s very much a project the community feels that they want and need out there,” Statler said. “We get this money yearly also, so we can look as we go along and see if there’s another commitment we can make later on.”

The new barn will support agriculture activities for FFA and 4-H members locally and from around the region with 1,700-square foot show area. But the utility and technology upgrades could make viable for other community events.

“It could be used for anything after that- the Fall Festival they have out there, the craft shows that could be there or any agriculture industry,” Watson said. “The building would be set up and established and you could have different shows throughout the year.”

Statler said the FFA and 4-H programs that are offered give young people the skills to be productive members of the community. The program leaders teach skills that can be used or even marketed as young people mature and determine what their career might be.

“Last week I was out there and they were painting a trailer and a car,” Statler said. “They were patching it up and painting it themselves- students.

Watson hopes to raise the funds needed and announce a timeline for the demolition of the existing and construction in July. The fairgrounds would be used through September of this year, but Watson is confident the new building could be ready the fair next year if the money is raised.

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