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County gives green light to bluegrass and beer

News editor

Taking a cue from Marion’s Chingawassa Days, county commissioners Monday approved the addition of a beer garden for Bluegrass at the Lake on June 20.

Chairman Dan Holub delayed the beer garden discussion to allow extra time for members of the public to show up to comment. None did.

“I don’t think there’s anybody out there to object, and we gave them a chance,” Holub said.

The commission’s decision creates the opportunity for having a beer garden, and Marion VFW Post 6958 has expressed interest in running it, Holub said.

“We’ve already discussed that as an organization that we were wanting to do this,” post quartermaster Bill Keith said. “it’s just a matter of getting everything together to be able to do that.”

Keith said the club could get a one-time permit from the state to do the garden, but that much work remains before calling it a “done deal.” He said they need to research the regulations and develop a contract modeled after the one for the Chingawassa beer garden. The club has a start on providing appropriate security.

“We’ve got all the orange fencing we need,” Keith said.

Park and Lake Superintendent Steve Hudson said if the permit and contract are obtained, the garden would likely be put high on the hill above the beachfront stage, closer to the lake hall where food vendors will be.

In response to a question about security from Commissioner Randy Dallke, Holub said there will be a buffer zone large enough to prevent passing beer out of the garden, and identification will be checked.

Fair kitchen grant

Miscommunication regarding funding could jeopardize a grant application that would have helped turn the foods building kitchen at the fairgrounds into a commercial-grade kitchen suitable for entrepreneurs and training events.

Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman showed proposed plans to commissioners, and said she discussed them with the fair board last week. While cost estimates have been made, Huffman said she’s received nothing in writing, with the grant application due Friday.

A bigger problem exists in how the local match for the grant will be accomplished. Huffman and Holub both said they believed the fair board originally agreed to fund part of the renovations, but the board wouldn’t commit to that last week, Huffman said.

“It wasn’t what I expected,” Huffman said.

“This was a project they were mulling anyway,” Holub said. “They were going to have to do this to save that kitchen.”

The grant Huffman is applying for won’t fund equipment, she said, but she proposed a way around that.

“They will not pay for any equipment, but they will pay for rent,” she said. “So to pay for the equipment, we have to say the county is paying rent on the building. So when we get the money for rent, we can use it for equipment.”

The remodel would cost the county $55,000, Huffman said. Commissioners agreed a meeting with the fair board should happen immediately to discuss financial issues and come up with a solution.

In other business:

  • Holub again expressed displeasure with the state’s management of taxes and funds, accusing the legislature of “moral turpitude” for violating laws and deceiving the public. He said he would write a “letter of condemnation” for commissioners to consider Monday.
  • For the third time this year, commissioners granted an exception to include property in the neighborhood revitalization program. Kent Lachman of Hillsboro said he wasn’t aware of the program when he built a 32-by-26-foot garage. In response to a question from Dalke, he said he has not been informed of the program any of the four times he has obtained building permits. As Hillsboro does not participate in the county revitalization program, Lachman was granted five years relief from all but the city’s share of property taxes.
  • Marion City Administrator Roger Holter requested a waiver from paying outstanding taxes of about $1,500 for 530 Walnut St., should the city acquire the property, which is under a condemnation action. Commissioners granted the request.

Last modified May 14, 2015

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