LISBON, Ohio — The new grandstand at the Columbiana County Fair has been in use for only two years, but was dealt a financial setback in January, when the fair board confirmed one of the project’s donors has pulled out.
The board had anticipated a gift of $300,000 — the amount pledged by the Green Family Trust — in memory of the late Arnold C. Green, a local businessman who had an interest in harness racing and both Standardbred and Thoroughbred racing.
The fair board received an initial gift of $25,000 from the trust, but nothing more.
“It’s just simply a business deal between two entities that just didn’t come to its full potential,” said John Wolf, fair board president. “It’s no reflection on them or the fair board.”
Farm and Dairy first reported the donation in February of 2014, the same year the facility was built and named in honor of Arnold C. Green.
Sign is down
But Wolf said the sign with the Green family name was taken down in late January, after the fair board was unable to obtain the paperwork it needed to document the gift.
Wolf said the board is “actively pursuing other benefactors.”
Total cost of the project was about $900,000. The fair funded the project with a construction loan, but Wolf said other anonymous donors have stepped forward, and he still believes the fair can pay off the loan over the next few years, or about the same time as before.
“We’re not going to lose possession of the grandstand or anything like that,” he said. “We’re financially stable.”
Wolf said the new grandstand seats about 2,500 people, compared to the old grandstand, which seated only 1,400. He called it a “beautiful addition” to the grounds, and said the fair continues to find new ways the grandstand can be used.
Farm and Dairy tried to contact the attorney representing the Green family, but did not receive a reply to our phone calls, or email.
The Salem News/Morning Journal printed a statement attributed to Atty. Terence Gallagher, which stated “both parties have different views and expectations as to the continuation of the Columbiana County Fair Grandstand project.”
The statement continued, “It is with great disappointment that the Green Family Trust acknowledges that a final agreement could not be mutually achieved as to the timing of the gifts to the Columbiana County Fair Board in a manner that would allow for the continuation of the naming rights of the Grandstand at the County Fairgrounds.”
Wolf said the Green family name will still be listed on the board of donors, just not as the name of the facility. The loss of funding is disappointing, but he said the fair appreciates the $25,000 the family gave.
“It’s a business deal. … something just didn’t work out this time,” Wolf said.
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