Ford County Commission approves Expo remodeling project

Judd Weil
Dodge City Daily Globe
The Western State Bank Expo's rodeo arena was approved to undergo a redesign, allowing for more accessible space and a more efficient traffic flow, while promoting safety in the consideration of all events and the people and animals attending them.

At its Sept. 21 meeting, Ford County Commission approved 2-1 a redesign project proposed by The Western State Bank Expo Center for its indoor dirt floor and rodeo arena, after having previously tabled the proposal at the Sept. 8 meeting.

Commissioner Ken Snook voted against the proposal.

The original proposal made by Expo Center director Danielle Crouch was tabled at the Sept 8. meeting due to a misunderstanding of the information presented.

The redesign will essentially mitigate traffic congestion between event participants and their animals from colliding with regular spectator traffic by designating certain routes for entering the facility.

The redesign will effectively separate spectators and participants, for safety reasons, by restricting livestock from certain areas reserved for spectators and vendors and vice versa in favor of safer interactions between the two.

“We’re hoping to minimize,” Crouch said. “We can’t completely remove the interaction and we’re going to do everything we can on the staff side to encourage contestants and people on horseback to move through their area quickly and safely, so that they’re not gathering.

“We feel it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Primarily, the exhibition area that was being used as a warmup area will undergo ground maintenance to make it more suited and safer for event participants and their animals to warm up before an event.

A new entrance, additional fencing, picnic tables and adjustments to meet ADA seating requirements will be installed.

“I actually like this, because whether it’s old or young, it helps keep people in a safer spot and I think they’ll understand why,” Commissioner Christopher Boys said. “There’s a space they’ll actually be able to move through, safe from animals while keeping things moving.”

Additionally, the Western State Bank Expo Center Expansion Project received approval, 3-0, for 12 additional redesign days.

The expansion project was originally approved around 2018 and while providing a more immediate second entrance into the rodeo arena, will also include a kitchen area, sitting area that can be utilized as meeting space, and additional, more convenient restroom and shower facilities.

Iron Star Wind Project gave a presentation about its 2021 wind farm project, introducing the company’s process and services to Ford County and including a promise of maintaining roads and repairing roads that take damage while building continues.

Ford County Sheriff Bill Carr made a request for an emergency purchase of a patrol vehicle in light of an incident last weekend where a Ford County highway patrolman was involved with a crash and the patrol vehicle was totaled.

Commissioners voted 3-0 to allow the Ford County Sheriff's Office to begin negotiations for purchase of a new vehicle.

A proposed second extension agreement with StandGuard Aquatics between the Long Branch Lagoon passed 3-0.

Santa Fe Trail Community Corrections’ Adult Carryover Reimbursement Budget for $41,874.53 and Juvenile Carryover Reimbursement Budget for $82,046.18 in a separate vote were both approved 3-0.