By the end of 2002, the kitchen of Cloverleaf Hall will be upgraded to commercial grade.

Last week on Tuesday the kitchen remodeling project was started following the awarding of the project bid to Gordon Contracting of La Grande and Enterprise by the Wallowa County Board of Commissioners at its Monday meeting.

Gordon Contracting submitted a bid of $21,440; two other bids received were $28,000 from W.C. Construction of Elgin and $32,000 of Tom Van Belle Construction of Joseph.

With the endorsement of Wallowa County Fairground manager Randy Garnet, the board voted to accept the lowest bid.

Replacing the existing Cloverleaf kitchen with one of commercial capacities was the community leadership project of the Wallowa County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Group this past year. Community donations and a fund-raising event at Cloverleaf in April involved many supporters.

A total of over $18,000 are in a special fund for the project and material and labor donations were also pledged to the cause. The county commissioners had earlier said the county would chip in the difference between the available money and the project cost if necessary.

The renovated and expanded kitchen will reduce Cloverleaf's front dining/meeting area by eight feet and provide better kitchen access and flow for caterers and buffet lines. A commercial range and refrigerator/freezer will be added, and the front restrooms will be made handicapped accessible. The old range will remain in the kitchen for the use of 4-H members.

According to Garnett, the project will be completed by Jan. 1. He said Cloverleaf will continue to be used while the renovation is underway.

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