When the 169th Columbiana County Fair kicks off next year, there should be new grandstands from which to view the demolition derbies, tractor pulls, concerts and other main attractions.
The current grandstands are constructed of wood, which makes them a fire hazard. They're old, rickety and rapidly failing. They have been a safety issue for years and we're glad the 15-member fair board has decided to stop courting disaster and remove this public threat.
After several towns around the country have experienced both deaths and multiple serious injuries when bleachers have collapsed at fairgrounds and high school football games, the county fair board is wise to be proactive and eliminate this potential hazard here.
The old grandstands will be demolished Dec. 14 to make way for the $900,000 project. The fair board had a feasibility study conducted by JMH Development Co. of Cincinnati which found that the project had widespread community support. So far the fair board has contributed $150,000 to the effort and county commissioners have also kicked in $20,000.
Not only will the new grandstands be more comfortable and safer, they will also hold more people - the seating capacity will be increased from 1,700 to 2,400 - and will finally be handicapped-accessible.
Kudos to the fair board. We hope the public support continues and the project is a great success.
This will give us something new to look forward to when we "Wheel on Down" to the fair in late July.