During the Ford County Commission meeting this week, commissioners voted to extend the emergency declaration for the county.

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During the Ford County Commission meeting this week, commissioners voted to extend the emergency declaration for the county.


The extension would be for an additional 60 days to allow state resources to continue to be brought into the county for COVID-19 response and testing.


"We are still getting protective gear from the state," Ford County emergency manager Rex Beemer said. "We have the shelter set up in town, as well as the test site, so we still got a lot of resources here."


If the extension was not made, according to Beemer, it would be difficult to receive the resources from the state.


The commissioners approved extending the declaration unanimously with a 3-0 vote.


The four-lane highway project was discussed during the meeting, which is the project that would implement a four-lane highway on US-50 highway between Dodge City and Cimarron. The project has been in planning in designing phases for many years through the Kansas Department of Transportation but due to budget cuts had been put on hold.


During the meeting, it was stated the project is now in the final design.


According to KDOT District 6 public affairs manager Lisa Knoll, KDOT is currently working on purchasing right of way on that project. The projected letting date is April 2021. That means the project could potentially start in 2022.


Another discussion that took place was if the Ford County Fair would be held this year.


Speaking with Ford County building and grounds supervisor Don Larman, who was requesting resources for the Ford County Fairgrounds, the question was raised on if the fair would occur.


"I don't know for sure," Larman said.


Larman requested an upgrade to the Ford County Fairgrounds building.


"We need to move the fairgrounds to the (Western State Bank) expo center," commissioner Ken Snook said. "It was built for 4-H and the 3i SHOW, that was the purpose and the promise that the commissioners made in those days.


"I don't know why we'd want to spend money down there, ’cause we could spend three to four hundred thousand dollars down there and it doesn't make very much sense."


Snook added the possibility of selling the fairgrounds building as is.


"I agree with Commissioner Snook," Commissioner Shawn Tassett said. "When we went through the budget process, I felt we needed to look at getting the fair, 4-H and things like that down at the expo center because maintenance on these buildings I think is becoming a little more expensive then what I feel like the property is worth."


With current COVID-19 revenue issues, Tassett said fixing the fairgrounds buildings would not be a "great idea."


"We have some other things we're going to have to think about," Tassett said.


If the fairgrounds buildings were sold off, Tassett said the money from those sales would go to the expo center to make it more accommodating for the Ford County Fair.


There was no vote regarding whether or not the fairgrounds buildings would be repaired or sold at this time.


Commissioners did approve the event proposal to bring the Cornhole Central Cowboy Classic Major to the Western State Bank Expo Center in 2021.


The 2020 classic was canceled due to COVID-19.


To contact the writer, email vmarshall@dodgeglobe.com