Juniata County Fair receives $1.3M improvement grant

Money to be used for fairground upgrades

Sentinel photo by KATY DIVIRGILIUS
Senator Jake Corman presented a $1.3 million grant to the Juniata County Fairground Committee Friday night for infrastructure upgrades. From left, Juniata County Commissioner Alice Gray, Tammy Casey of the Juniata County Planning Commission, Senator Jake Corman, Sue Pontius, Tom Metz, Juniata County Fairground Committee President Don Clark, Juniata County Fair Queen McKala Dressler and Dave Hallstrom.

PORT ROYAL — For 164 years, the Juniata County Fair has offered events and attractions for all ages.

On Friday evening, State Sen. Jake Corman (R-Bellefonte) presented the Juniata County Fair Committee with a $1.3 million grant to improve fairground infrastructure.

Juniata County Fairground Committee President Don Clark was present to receive the grant from Corman.

“We do need some upgrades for water management and handicapped accessibility,” Clark said. “I appreciate everything the non-stop workers have done.”

Port Royal Speedway, located within the fairgrounds, draws crowds from March through November. Currently, the only passage to some seating sections of the speedway is by way of stairs, leaving no option for handicapped patrons.

Workers who help run the Juniata County Fair, along with engineer Tom Metz, formulated a grant application with the purpose of managing stormwater runoff and creating handicapped-accessible facilities.

Metz said the process of building will begin this fall by making bidding selections. The project is three steps, first being storm water management.

Retention basins will be installed, which will help control the rate of runoff and will eliminate sediments from the runoff water.

Next, the tunnel that accesses different parts of the speedway will be made handicapped accessible.

The third part of the process will be to create handicapped-accessible restrooms.

“People who have been drawn to the area by the fairgrounds are moving here because of our community and its values. Recent race days have brought people from 26 states to Juniata County and these fairgrounds. These improvements will only serve to accelerate this,” Corman said.

Clark said the committee operates by looking five years in the future. It analyzes what will need to be fixed or changed, then follows procedures to raise and save money to complete a plan.

Some previous projects include the construction of a pavilion with tables, an office building and additions to the barn to accommodate chickens and rabbits.

“This is the first year the barn has been completely full,” Clark said.

The fairground also was able to acquire 19 acres of land near the fair for additional parking.

“Receiving this money demonstrates the value of the good work of all the volunteers and the growth experienced here because of their efforts,” Corman said. “With these improvements … the impact of those efforts will be felt throughout the region.”

The Juniata County Fair is held in early September. For information, visit www.juniatacountyfair.com.