Parks board plans retreat in Twisp

Fairgrounds improvements, manager on agenda

— The Okanogan County Parks and Recreation Board is planning a day-long retreat Saturday at the Methow Valley Community Center, 201 Methow Valley Highway.

The public is welcome to attend the retreat, scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We have some board policies that haven’t been upgraded for 10 years and need to make a few more,” board member Bill White said. “We just cannot get everything done at our board meetings of once a month. We approve the bills, listen to the public input, old minutes, new minutes and we are looking at 10 p.m.”

One new policy that needs to be addressed is how to operate the new security system at the Okanogan County Fair, board member Monica Rawson said. The system was installed in late summer, but was not up and running in time for the fair.

White said the board may have an in-depth discussion of whether a manager is needed to help run the fair, but Rawson said that topic will take a backseat to establishing board policies and procedures, along with drafting a five-year plan.

The board could also discuss its plans to upgrade the fairgrounds, 175 Rodeo Trail Road, with grant funding. White said the board has applied for three grants to replace the main bathroom facilities and the rodeo grandstands and build new RV parking south of the fairgrounds.

The state Department of Agriculture has granted $50,000 for the bathroom project, but the fair board will need to provide matching funds, White said.

“The bathroom will be approximately $160,000 to build and we are just now contacting designers to get it drawn up before we put it out for bid,” he said. “We’ve got a lot to renovate at the fairgrounds and if we don’t start upgrading we will never catch up. The funds are always the biggest challenge to getting things done, but we are committed to scratching every nickel we can up and go crawling to any entity that might be able to help us out.”

As for the other two projects, Rawson said grant applications are still pending.

“We just need to make sure we have everything out and in play before we can announce everything,” she said.

The fair board is also looking for volunteers to serve on the public committees – finance, facilities, five-year plan, entertainment, publicity, vendors, RV parking, policies and procedures, royalty, horse races, animal and non-animal superintendents, rulebook, gates and admission policy, and personnel.

Rawson said anyone interested in serving can attend the retreat or the board’s regular monthly meetings, or contact the fair office.

The board’s next regular meeting will be at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the fair office, 175 Rodeo Trail Road, Okanogan.

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