Commissioners discuss expo building funding

By Kelsey Kimbler -

EATON — Preble County Commissioners have prepared a list of amounts for Expo addition sponsorships which will be presented to the Preble County Fair Board during its next meeting.

In a previous meeting, Pork Festival Coordinator Becky Henning asked the board to prepare something, as she had a potential donor looking to have the building named after their company. She wanted a sheet to present to the potential donor, so they would know how much they had to donate for naming rights.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Henning asked for an update on the pricing sheet, but the commissioners had yet to discuss the issue. They promised to notify Henning when they had a completed document and then began working on the prices.

After receiving $150,000 in donations for the building, the project is still looking for $750,000 in donations. The board had already decided donations of $50,000 warranted two three feet by seven feet signs on the building, plus cost of the sign and maintenance.

The board decided smaller donations would be grouped in tiers and put on a board:

•Bronze donations of $500-1,000.

•Silver donations of $1,001-$2,500.

•Gold donations of $2,501-10,000.

•Platinum donations of $10,001 and up.

Gold and Platinum donors have the option to pledge an amount over five years and pay a smaller amount each year until they reach their Gold or Platinum status.

Companies or individuals who donate $25,000 are allowed to have two two feet by four feet signs on the building, as long as they purchase and maintain their own sign.

The first entity to donate $350,000 (20 percent of the project) will have naming rights for the life of the building, but are expected to purchase and maintain their own sign.

The board decided to run this information past the Preble County Fair Board before giving the information to Henning and the public.

“You might want to decide how long you are going to try fundraising before you decide if it is going to happen or not going to happen and how much you guys are fine financing, because the Fair Board is not leaning towards wanting to help support paying back anything you are going to finance. Then you are going to have to have a lot more in hand before you start and how long do you want to wait before you do it?” Commission Clerk Kim Keller said.

“I think if we get it down to the $400,000, we can come up with a plan to make it happen,” Commissioner Chris Day said.

Keller asked about the fair board, which she said had a similar plan presented to them they did not support.

“If you were in that meeting, they are not going to be happy with anything,” Day said. “Here’s the deal, they want any revenue off of this, because they are broke. The one thing I do not get is, there is no reason that fairgrounds should be in that position every year. If they are spending more than they are taking in, they need to look at the fair and figure out what to cut out.”

Commission President Rodney Creech added, they either need to decrease costs or increase revenue. He believes an easy way to increase revenue would be by naming all the buildings on the fairgrounds. That way, a company or individual could pay to have their name on a fairgrounds building. According to Creech, this is an idea the board has been discussing for three years, but it is ultimately the fair board’s decision.

The board forwarded a copy of the proposed plan to the fair board for review during their meeting on Thursday, Jan. 17.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH