More red roofs coming to fairgrounds

"Arnie Wellman, left, is handed a strip of metal roofing by fellow Lions Club member Ken Hickman. The Lions are roofing the fairgrounds' commercial building while the historic Pole Building at right is being done by a contractor.Jim Larsen / staff photoTwo major projects under way at the Island County Fairgrounds will add shiny red roofs to the commercial building and the historic Pole Building.Both jobs were about half done at the end of last week, and expectation was that they would be finished within the next two weeks.The South Whidbey Lions Club is handling the tough chore of putting the new roof on the commercial building, while KDI Roofing Systems of Clinton is in charge of the even more challenging and dangerous Pole Building job.The Pole Building dates back to 1937 when it was a WPA project. Its cedar shakes have been covered a time or two since then, but the originals were evident when the workers finally got down to them.They used some pretty big nails and real wood back then, said worker Jeremy Souza, who spent a lot of hours pulling off the old shingles. The red metal roof might not look as rustic, but it will fit with the fairgrounds motif and be relatively maintenance free for years to come.Fair Board chairwoman Ruth Turner said the Pole Building job is costing $48,600, while the commercial building is costing $10,000 for materials.We just wouldn't have got it down without the Lions, Turner said Friday as she and her sister, Glenola Glein, prepared lunch for the volunteers, including John Erdeli, Ken Hickman, Roy Benson, Terry Minton, Mac McCloskey, Arnie Wellman, Bob Warnock, Bob Davis, Chuck Brengle, Bob Davis, Ralph Nakamura, Herb Bacon and Vern Best.Another board member, Marilyn Gabelein, added, We wouldn't have done any of this without Jim (Eakins) being in charge. Turner quickly concurred.Eakins is the fair's volunteer construction chief, a member of the fair board, and a member of the Lions Club. I like to see the community grow, he said modestly, cutting off the praise as quickly as possible.Eakins said the Island County Commissioners provided $50,000 for fairgrounds maintenance projects this year. He's stretching the dollars with as much volunteer labor as possible.Turner said the commissioners said there might not be any other money available for several years, but she's already got a plan to get more money next year.We're going to go whine a lot, she said.Eakins thanked the county for the help but agreed more needs to be provided. They own it and doggone it they should keep it up, he said.The fair has some of its own revenue through gate receipts and building rentals, but it doesn't go far.The new roofs will be the major changes people will notice when they attend this year's Island County Fair Aug. 16-19. Volunteers are also painting the rock and gem building and remodeling the Fiddle Faddle Farm barn. "

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