Hunt proposes improvements to Kaufman County fairgrounds

Precinct 1 comissioner Mike Hunt proposed a new renovation project for the Kaufman County Fairgrounds during last week's commissioners court meeting. Although the item was merely on for discussion, the commissioners discussed various improvements from electrical rewiring to add-on to the main structure. Commissioner Hunt is working on getting concrete cost figures.

Precinct 1 commissioner Mike Hunt has begun talks with various contractors regarding potential improvements to the Kaufman County Fairgrounds.

According to Hunt, the fairgrounds, which hosts the Kaufman County Junior Livestock Show each Spring, has not received any funds or assistance from the county in memorable history and as a result is falling into disrepair.

“I don’t know anybody that knows the last time the county did something to improve the facility,” Hunt said. “They’re kind of asking for some help here to do that. I think it’s good for the county, it’s good for the kids, and I think it’s something that we need to try to do if we can find the money.”

The list of proposed improvements includes a new addition to the main building, extra concrete for pig pens, and electrical wiring work. Hunt also noted that the county would “have to reroute a road to be able to move around the facility.” County Judge Hal Richards also proposed that the contractors look into potential drainage issues that could arise as a result of further structural reworking.

“Before we add any more buildings out there, someone needs to look at the drainage and make sure that we don’t create a mess that way,” Richards said.

In addition to structural improvements, the fair board is also requesting for the county to reevaluate their lease and, in exchange, they would be willing to continue improvements to the women’s professional building on the property.

“We have the professional building out there that is utilized a lot by the community and all of the agri-life stuff and all of the county functions that we use out there. That’s part of the lease; we use it for no rent. But I think 

they have some money committed to the women’s professional building to try to make it a nicer facility also. I think it’s a good thing for everybody if we can make this work. And I propose that we find the money in this year’s budget and try to get it done before this budget year ends.”

Based on early estimates, Commissioner Hunt predicts that the total cost for the project would be somewhere around $100,000. During the June 19 meeting of the Commissioners Court, Hunt said that he would work on getting a more exact figure and plan on having the item on the agenda for the following week.

While precinct 2 commissioner Skeet Phillips and precinct 3 commissioner Terry Barber didn’t express their position on Hunt’s proposal, precinct 4 commissioner Ken Cates pronounced his support of the proposal.

“I agree with Mike that the whole fairgrounds out there are in need of some serious sprucing up,” Cates said. “I think that there might also be some safety issues that we could address in this process. Not only the electrical system throughout the building but, for instance, the bleachers. Some of the seats out there, the bracers are loose. Some of the wood benches, I think, are in disrepair. And frankly, a lot of it is just kind of an eyesore out there. I think it has suffered from a lack of maintenance over the years. Our precincts of donated gravel just about every year to try to improve that parking facility out there, as well. I know the year before last it was a huge mud hole trying to park so many people during the junior livestock show. So I think that does need to be looked at. I think it’s a good thing all around and I support the commissioner’s proposal.”

During the June 19 meeting of the commissioners court, the commissioners also accepted the commissioners court meeting minutes for June 12, approved the deputation of James D. Thornton as Deputy Sheriff for the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Department, approved the acceptance of a donation to the Kaufman County precinct 2 constable’s office from the Devonshire Development Group of one 2016 Ford LL Police Interceptor Explorer valued at $16,500, accepted the transfer of Lewis Circle which consists of 478 feet from the precinct 1 road report to the precinct 2 road report, accepted a mutual waiver of liability, release and indemnification agreement regarding materials and labor donation to assist improvements to County Road 260, accepted a donation of materials and labor to assist improvements of County Road 260 pursuant to the Texas Transport Code, approved Westwood Engineering’s installation of a water line crossing Lake Ray Hubbard Drive, approved an amendment to the original award of contract for Texas Bit to include additional road materials for Fair Road in precinct 1, accepted the tax assessor-collector’s monthly report for May 2019, and approved line item transfers and claims for payment. The commissioners also discussed the budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 and tabled an item for consideration regarding a memorandum of understanding to negotiate medicare rates with Dallas Regional Medical Center for an inmate.

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