Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
By Amy Kronenberger
Estimates come in for storm damage
Auglaize County Fairgrounds
  WAPAKONETA - Storm-damaged buildings at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds were patched and cleaned prior to the fair four weeks ago but now require a permanent fix.
The June 29 storm with 80 to 90 mph winds took down 18 trees and damaged the roofs of four buildings at the fairgrounds, causing nearly $95,000 in damages.
Fair manager Fred Piehl told county commissioners on Tuesday that Frost Roofing, Wapakoneta, inspected the buildings and estimated $53,100 in roof damage - $8,600 for the fruit hall, $4,500 for the freight depot, and $40,000 for horse barns 1 and 3.
County administrator Mike Hensley said they were planning to demolish horse barn 1 and replace the entire roof of the fruit hall this year anyway. Estimates from Frost Roofing to replace the fruit hall roof range from $25,500 to $29,000. There isn't an estimate yet for tearing down the horse barn.
County officials hope to receive insurance money to help offset the costs.
"The big question is whether we can put insurance money toward replacement instead of only repairs," Hensley said.
Insurance adjuster Rochelle Reichert of Gallagher Basset Services, Inc., Cleveland, in a conference call said she would set up a time to come and assess the damage.
"She's going to have to come and see what insurance will cover before we can do anything else," commissioner Doug Spencer said.
Of the trees knocked down, 15 were large and three were small and young.
"Some of the oldest trees on the grounds fell that day," he said. "They were 100 to 150 years old."
The fallen trees cost the county an additional $41,500, which included $1,500 to replace sections of chainlink fence, $28,000 to remove the trees and $12,000 to fix electrical issues.
"It seems like every tree that came down hit a tent or a power line or something," Piehl said. "I don't think any fell into an open area ... but this was minor. As I looked at everything, I realized it could have been so much worse."
Piehl said work has begun remodeling and expanding the restroom and shower facility across from the horseshoe pits at the fairgrounds' campground.
The $185,000 project is being funded with $130,000 raised for materials and $55,000 in free labor donated by area businesses.
"All the money was raised through fundraisers," Piehl said. "So none of it came out of the budget."
Workers plan to begin laying the footer next week.
"If we have a mild winter and the guys want to keep working, it'll get done," he said. "Otherwise, they'll quit when it gets cold and finish it up in the spring."
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