Fair moves office to fairground

The Marion County Fair Board moved its office Saturday from the Hillsboro Management Board office at 109 S. Main St. to the Marion County Fairgrounds.

The move, credited to cost-cutting, will allow the fair board to put more money back into the fair, and will allow the board to focus 100 percent on the fair, said Chuck McLinden, board president.

?It?s not because we have any dissatisfaction with HMB,? McLinden said. ?But when our office was in HMB, we were just one of five different entities. Now we?re handling our own business and the fair?s all we have to handle, so we can give it 100 percent attention.?

The HMB office also is home to the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, the Arts & Crafts Fair Association and the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

McLinden said the board started discussing a move two years ago.

?We had talked about it a couple years ago when the city of Hillsboro changed or altered its involvement with HMB, and decided that it wasn?t time for us to go out on our own yet,? McLinden said.

But after fair board secretary and treasurer John Reznicek died in January, the board began making personnel changes.

?With his passing, we obviously needed to replace his position,? McLinden said. ?It kind of changed the complexion of the executive board.?

Kara Chisholm took over as treasurer and Stephanie Richmond as secretary. Richmond also inquired about the full-time fair manager position that had been vacant since 2004.

?Stephanie found out about the full-time fair manager position that wasn?t filled,? McLinden said. ?She decided that if we were willing, she would be interested in the job. So we went through the process and hired her to be the new full-time fair manager.?

Even though the board will be paying for a full-time position, the money saved from paying monthly rent to HMB will cover the manager position and will leave $3,500 to $4,000 annually to go toward fair improvements.

?We hope to put (the money) back into the fair,? McLinden said. ?Specifically, we don?t know where that will be, but we hope to be able to use it to improve anything and everything about the fair?be it the grounds or the fair itself.?

Currently the fair board does not have set office hours, and McLinden said he wasn?t sure when hours would be established.

He did say that the best way to be in contact with the fair board would be by phone or e-mail. The new phone number is 620-381-0109. The new e-mail address is mncofairmanager@yahoo.com.

?In this day and age of simpler communication, we felt we could justify (the move) because of cell phones, e-mails?things like that,? McLinden said. ?And there won?t always necessarily be a live person there in the office, but between cell phones and e-mails it?s not hard to find people.?

The fair board also plans to have a new Web site available to the public in the near future.

?We realize this change, like all changes, is going to take time for everybody to accept and understand,? McLinden said. ?But we feel it?s a move forward for the fair in handling our own business and hopefully making several things about the fair and things that go on on the fair grounds during the rest of the year a lot easier to handle.

?We?d appreciate the patience of everyone involved until we get all the kinks ironed out,? he added.

?We really feel this is a move that is in the best interest of the fair, and once we get all the pieces in place, we really feel it will be a big positive for us.?

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