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Central Iowa Fair receives grant to improve building

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Mike Duffy CIF President, Shannon Espenscheid, Fair Manager, Jodi Breniman CIF VP, Julie Hitchins Executive Director CFMC, Colene Ferrin CIF Secretary, Linda VonHolten CIF Board and Craig Hawkins CIF board.

Community Foundation of Marshall County gave the Central Iowa Fair a $20,000 Major Impact Grant for renovations to the Activity Building.

Julie Hitchins, the executive director of the CFMC, said after the board found out how much of an impact the Activity Building at the fairgrounds had, it was determined the Major Impact Grant should go there.

The Activity Building was built in the 1960s and Hitchins said there has been no renovation at the facility. The Central Iowa Fair Association hired the Iowa State Design Lab to conduct a feasibility study to make sure the building had a future. It is one of the few structures in the county that can accommodate 200-300 people.

“It is a great space and they want to put in rest rooms, camping, an exhibition room, a catering kitchen, concessions, a fair office and a conference room,” Hitchins said.

The project has been divided into four phases.

“We are honored to receive this Major Impact Award from the Community Foundation,” said Mike Duffy, the Central Iowa Fair Board president. “We recognize the need to update this building to accomodate our community. This award along with our other fundraising efforts will push this project forward.”

A lot of people utilize the campground for parking their campers and tents during the Central Iowa Fair and during racing season. Hitchins said the grant will also help provide money for showers that campers can use.

She said the amount of people that use the Activity Building is incredible and the facility is regularly booked for events ranging from quinceareas to weddings to reunions.

“The board looked at lasting positive impact on the way people in Marshall County live, work and play,” Hitchins said. “This is far reaching. A lot of people will be served, not just the people of Marshalltown. This is going to have a long-term impact on the county.”