EATON — According to Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech, the county still needs approximately $700,000 to finish the Expo Addition project. Currently the building is only a “shell” which needs completed, including the addition of bathrooms, which was one of the main reasons the project was started.
The building is currently being rented out, with proceeds benefiting the Preble County Fairgrounds. However, the completion of the project is taking longer than originally expected.
“We’re still fortunate to have the structure there, we’re still using it and they’re still renting it out, but it’s not what we wanted. The space is still being utilized, just not to its full potential,” Creech said. “We knew going into this we were only going to put a shell up. We knew that. I didn’t think it would take this long to complete it, but it’s not that we failed. It’s just, we’re not going at the pace we should be. This project is far from a failure, it’s just not on the fast track like we wanted it to be.”
The Preble County Board of Commissioners canceled the 2019 Commissioner Ball in order to plan a fundraising event, but according to Commissioner Creech, the event “never got off the ground.”
“It didn’t go anywhere. I was to the point where we didn’t have 100 percent buy-in from all parties and I didn’t think it would be successful. Everyone has to carry their weight. We were looking for help and it never got off the ground,” Creech said. “We were hoping to use this event to get people energized and raise good money.”
Creech admits that the board could finish the project now, however, they want “skin in the game” from other parties and to see community investment in the project.
“We could take money from the general fund and finish it right now, but there are other things we have to worry about too,” he said.
The original idea behind the Expo Addition project was to bring bathrooms and showers for campers and the Expo Center. An added inspiration was to bring a nice venue for various events which are currently being housed elsewhere, even outside of Preble County.
“When we originally put this addition on, the hope was mainly bathrooms and showers for the campers at the Fair and also bathrooms for the Expo Center. We also wanted a place where we could have large events — we have a lot of large events that leave the county, because there is not a lot of space,” he said.
“Whether it be wedding venues, family events, you name it. There is a lot of opportunity for large gatherings. We wanted to bring more events into the county that would generate more revenue for the county and bring people to shop in Preble County. We were looking at it to increase traffic and revenue in the county. We think the building could be utilized a lot.”
Those interested in donating or learning more should contact the Preble County Commission Office and the Preble County Fairgrounds.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH