Clark County Fairgrounds to receive $3M in renovations

Renovations to the entrance of the Clark County Fairgrounds will occur over the next three years. Contributed
Renovations to the entrance of the Clark County Fairgrounds will occur over the next three years. Contributed

Credit: Contr

Credit: Contr

The Board of Clark County Commissioners and the Clark County Agricultural Society have agreed to move forward with giving the Clark County Fairground a roughly $3 million facelift over the next three years.

Approved on Wednesday, the renovations to the fairgrounds will include upgraded gates with fencing and landscaping at the entrance and adjacent area north of Interstate 70 on Ohio 41, a pedestrian drop-off location, a new fair office and space for the development of a hotel, restaurant and retail use.

The upgrade will also include a retention pond designed to improve drainage and fix flooding issues.

“Champions Park is such a special place for so many of us who grew up here and showed livestock and other projects at the Clark County Fair, so there’s no better place from which to draw energy to enhance our community,” Clark County Commission President Melanie Flax Wilt said.

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According to a statement from the county, the site of the former Army National Guard armory provides an opportunity for development and additional frontage along Ohio 41 for hotel and retail. The planned development site would extend farther north across the frontage of the fairgrounds.

“We welcome tens of thousands of visitors to Champions Park throughout the year for antique shows, swap meets, gun shows and boat races, and if we can provide more opportunities for them to stay and spend right here, that boosts our local economy,” Flax Wilt said.

The county purchased the armory site through the Clark County Land Reutilization Corporation, also known as the Land Bank, in 2019 for $125,000 with a loan from the county commission with plans to demolish it and redevelop it.

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The site is currently pending sale, Executive Director of the Land Bank, Ethan Harris said, but once the county closes on the sale of the land, the county will then enter into a joint venture with Dayton real estate developer Dillin Corp. to reinvest the proceeds back into, “the gateway and fairgrounds.”

The former site of the Army Natioinal Guard Armory where the proposed development would be located by the Clark Couty Fairgrounds. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
The former site of the Army Natioinal Guard Armory where the proposed development would be located by the Clark Couty Fairgrounds. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

“The land will not move into the joint venture into there is a third party purchaser, such as hopefully a hotel, or a restaurant, or someone looking for office space that will purchase the land. That’s the goal with this project,” Harris said. “It’s important for the county and the land bank to remain the owners of the land until there is that final third party purchaser.”

The current redevelopment plans allow the existing fairgrounds camping and parking areas to remain the same. But the current headquarters will be replaced by a more modern facility at a location to be determined, the statement said.