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State reps get barn tour

ROME TOWNSHIP — Two state representatives for Lawrence County got one of the first looks at the new livestock barn at the fairgrounds.

On Thursday, Sen. Bob Peterson, (R-17th District), and Rep Ryan Smith, (R-93rd District), were given a tour by County Commissioners Bill Pratt and Freddie Hayes.

“They were excited about it,” Hayes said. “The barn, especially. They couldn’t believe how good it looks.”

While there, the two commissioners pitched some future projects they’d like to see at the fairgrounds.

“We talked to them about trying to get some money to help with the grandstand,” Hayes said.

Fair supporters would like to replace the aging wooden bleachers and Hayes puts replacement cost at a minimum of a half-million dollars.

Pratt also sought funding to reduce the $700,000 just borrowed by the Lawrence County Port Authority to pay for the barn project.

“Bob said they hadn’t had any capital money for four years,” Pratt said. “But we wanted to put that seed out there and if the money came around, they would think about Lawrence County.”

Smith said he was impressed with the support the community had given the barn project through pledges made. Any appropriations from the capital budget couldn’t happen until next year, he said.

“The budget doesn’t lend itself to much spending because of the uncertainty,” Smith said. “I think it is a worthy project. I always want to help people who want to help themselves.”