After being declared unsafe last spring and spending nearly a year fenced off at the county fairgrounds, the historic open class building and the collapsed wing of the livestock building will be demolished by contractor American Relics of Wausau this month.
The county has no current plans to replace either building.
The county received an offer from American Relics, offering to pay the county $100 to take down the open class building, after which the company will sell the vintage lumber salvaged to any interested members of the public. As there isn't expected to be much worth salvaging from the collapsed wing of the livestock barn, the county will pay American Relics $6,500 to demolish the wing.
The county will provide dumpsters for shingles, glass, unwanted wood, and anything else that can't be sold.
Since the open class building currently houses the electrical service for the fairgrounds, it will need to be disconnected and relocated.
The possibility of purchasing a small storage shed for the purpose of housing the electric service was discussed by the executive committee on Jan. 14, and a resolution to approve the costs will be presented to the county board of supervisors at their next meeting on Feb. 16. Costs are expected to total $28,985.
The main goal of this project is to ensure working electricity for the fairgrounds, while improving safety by removing the potentially dangerous structures so public events can be held on site in the future, according to county administrator Nick Trimner.
While the fairgrounds will be short one building and the space formerly afforded to livestock by the barn wing, Trimner said the other pole sheds on site can be utilized and should another pole shed be required, that can be considered in the future.
“We will now have a place where the fair can be held,” he said. “This may be a better, cheaper alternative because maybe we can fix up the remaining barn for $100,000 instead of trying to build a new one for $600,000.”
From a historical perspective, this option will also allow for the majority of the remaining livestock barn to be restored rather than completely demolished and replaced with a modern structure, which Trimner said he believes people would like to see.
This option, having the buildings demolished and allowing the wood to be sold, will present a considerable cost savings to the county compared to earlier demolition estimates, with Trimner estimating a conservative savings of $40,000.
Discussions held by county officials earlier this year indicated the costs of restoring or replacing the historic buildings could range from $500,000 to $1.8 million.
After starting the deconstruction process, American Relics will have 60 days to complete the project.
Once the demolition has been completed, the county's insurance provider will need to examine the remaining two wings and rotunda of the barn to ensure it is safe for the public to utilize.