Progress is being made on the new Bonneville County Fairgrounds under construction near Sandy Downs with the Family and Consumer Science Building expected to be completed in May and other buildings shortly thereafter.
“It’s been a big project and there’s a lot of moving pieces but we’re moving along at a pretty good pace now,” said Bryon Reed, Bonneville County commissioner. “We believe that we’re building something that will be important to the entire community for generations to come.”
The FCS building includes offices, meeting rooms, a large hall and a full kitchen. Funding has come from Bonneville County and from numerous donations including a $35,000 grant from the CHC Foundation, Reed said. FCS board members have been included during construction, said member board Joy Boyle.
“It’s been nice to have a voice and it will be really nice to have the extra room,” Boyle said.
The 2019 county fair is scheduled Aug. 5 to 9. Once completed, the new fairgrounds will replace the existing fairgrounds on Rollandet Avenue in Idaho Falls.
Numerous $25 donations have been made by Bonneville County 4-Hers themselves.
“We’ve had a lot of community support. Along with the largest donations, we’ve had a lot of small donations in the past two years since we announced we were doing this,” Reed said. “It’s been really heartwarming that when a 4-H’er sells his or her market animal at the sale that they turn around and say to the crowd that they are donating $25 to the fairgrounds.”
Donations are 100 percent tax deductible and a 501(c3) has been set up, Reed said and donations can be made by contacting Reed and Stan Boyle, chairman of the Bonneville County Fairgrounds committee.
“The committee and 4-H’ers have been petitioning the county every year to get this done for 12 to 15 years and deserve credit along with everyone in Bonneville County for getting it going,” Reed said.
Donations made by companies for at least half the cost of a building or arena will have their company’s name put on the outside of the building. The building where 4-H’ers show and sell livestock will be named the Melaleuca 4-H Events Center, Reed said, thanks to a generous donation from Melaleuca, Reed said.
“If we have a good week of weather, they’ll have the skin and roof on the Melaleuca building,” Reed said. “We hope to have that building done in June.”
A third building that will house livestock stalls is also under construction and should be completed by fair time, Reed said. The cost to construct that building is $500,000, he said.
Remodeling an existing building is also underway and will contain stalls for beef, dairy, sheep and goats. The Idaho Farm Bureau donated $72,500 for the remodeling work and the bureau’s name will be on that building, Boyle said.
Boyle said he’s hopeful all the buildings will be done by fair time with the possible exception of the horse arenas. The Bank of Commerce has donated $42,500 towards the construction of the two outdoor riding arenas, Boyle said.
“We’re not sure they will be done by fair time, if not, the horse events will be held in Ririe again at the Wind River Arena,” Boyle said.
Other donations ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each have been made by Falls Fertilizer, Valley Agronomics, Zions Bank, Northwest Farm Credit, Print Craft Press, Cal Stores and the Bonneville County Cattle Association, Reed said.
Boyle said Reed has been dedicated to the project.
“It’s unbelievable what he has been doing, he’s been at the construction site every day,” Boyle said. “I can’t say enough about how supportive he’s been.”