New fair building debated


Marriott Hotel is still in the works

By Jacob Clary - [email protected]



Pictured are (l-r) are Evan Davis, Julie Bolender, Steve Patton and Matt Baldwin as Bolender discusses Marriott Hotel updates and the others discuss a fairground building.

Pictured are (l-r) are Evan Davis, Julie Bolender, Steve Patton and Matt Baldwin as Bolender discusses Marriott Hotel updates and the others discuss a fairground building.


Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette

Updates on a new fairgrounds building were discussed with the Highland County Senior Fair Board at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.

“We believe, as it stands right now, that we are able to, or it’s gonna be our intent to try to come up with, all but about, there’s gonna be about $105,000 shortfall to do all aspects of the project,” commissioner Dave Daniels said. “So, that would be the building, the side walls, the electric, the concrete, all the alternates that go along with that. The thought was that we would ask you guys (the fair board) to come in and see if you had any thoughts about how we could make up or how we do that.”

Daniels said some aspects of the project can go unfulfilled, such as the electrical work or the flooring.

Mark Baldwin, fair board president, said that $105,000 would be something the fair board would need to come up with, as well as a site ready for construction.

Daniels said, concerning the completion date of the project which he didn’t see mentioned in the bids, that it would be something they would want to start as soon as possible. He said because the bid hadn’t been awarded, it was something they would be able to talk to the low bidder about and clarify that aspect of the project.

Pertaining to the different parts of the project, Daniels said the building and the walls are the two parts that would go “hand-and-glove” and probably couldn’t be eliminated.

Baldwin said that if he had to choose between not doing either the concrete slab flooring or the electrical work, he would choose to not do the electrical work. He said that was because he noticed that some of the prices on those bids varied “a good bit” and that “what you would like to have and what you can get by with is maybe two different things.” Baldwin said if they “trimmed” the electricity a bit, they could possibly do an upgrade on it in two or three years.

Baldwin and the fair board also had some questions regarding the plans given to them about the fairgrounds building and some of its amenities. The first of those was the question of bathrooms for the public, to which Daniels said that was not something it would consider in the building and would need to do it at another time.

The other question was about the location of the building. Baldwin said that if the proposed location at 604 John St. was chosen, there would be no way to get around that side of the fairgrounds if someone was inside the grounds.

He said if the proposed location was moved to what was once the Blue Gate, the original entrance to the fairgrounds, his thinking for the location would be to move it to that corner where there’s already a blank lot.

Daniels said the commissioners would look at possible alternative sites for the building if it isn’t too far off. He also said that the fair board should download the site drawing and possibly circle new site locations it might prefer and bring them to the board of commissioners for the next time the two boards meet.

In other fair news, Baldwin gave an update on how he thought the 2022 version of the fair went.

“As a dollar amount, we had a very average fair,” Baldwin said. “Let’s just say that the first four days was record-lows and the last three days were record-highs. It evened out… The weather, obviously, wasn’t that good but people still came out to try and help support the youth and then that’s what we’re all trying to do, I suppose.”

Commissioner Jeff Duncan said he thought people were anxious the past two years due to COVID-19 and wanted to get back to a routine and do the things they used to do.

In other news, Julie Bolender, Highland County economic director, updated the board on the Marriott Hotel and its three environmental review bids.

Bolender said, following the county receiving a Community Development Block Grant, that it was required to advertise for bids on the environmental review in the newspaper, but all three times it tried, no bids came in. She said that after contacting the Ohio Department of Development, it allowed the county to solicit bids itself.

Bolender said that two of three bids were within $10 of each other, with there being one other bid being lower than those. However, she said with that lowest bid, from Patriot Engineering, it would require “considerable” work on the county’s side. Bolender said the other two bids were from Verdantas and Tetra Tech, with the former providing a site visit and the latter giving a desktop review.

Concerning the lowest bid also requiring the most work from the county, Daniels asked if Bolender thought the price would balance out and the lowest bid didn’t end up helping that much. Bolender said she thought the bids ended up balancing out and the lowest bid would end up equaling or exceeding the other two with the work the county would need to do.

If she had to give a recommendation, Bolender it would be Verdantas. She said its bid was at $5,000 and it could begin immediately with a four-to-six-week completion time depending on the company’s ability to get all of the necessary information from state and federal partners.

Daniels the county should do a side-by-side comparison of all three bids and show a justification for why the county wouldn’t be picking the lowest apparent bidder.

In other matters, the commissioners approved a flooring replacement at the Highland County Justice Center. Duncan said the center has some carpeting that needed to be replaced in the central office and Tissot’s Home Center sent an estimate. He said that estimate included a replacement of the old carpet, with it being replaced by new commercial carpet tiles as well as the addition of rubber on the stairways, with all of that costing $5,767.40.

The commissioners approved a letter of support for a portion of S.R. 124 to be memorialized in honor of the great-uncle of Jen Pell, the man who developed the church camp in Sinking Spring. Daniels said he served in World War II, but didn’t return home.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Pictured are (l-r) are Evan Davis, Julie Bolender, Steve Patton and Matt Baldwin as Bolender discusses Marriott Hotel updates and the others discuss a fairground building.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/10/web1_DSC_0168.jpgPictured are (l-r) are Evan Davis, Julie Bolender, Steve Patton and Matt Baldwin as Bolender discusses Marriott Hotel updates and the others discuss a fairground building. Jacob Clary | The Times-Gazette
Marriott Hotel is still in the works

By Jacob Clary

[email protected]