Winter weather may be upon us, but that isn’t stopping work at the Wallowa County Fairgrounds in Enterprise.
One of the biggest and most exciting projects is a new indoor arena that’s expected to have a seven-digit price tag, though the total cost is a long way from being known, according to Fair Board Office Manager Tera Elliott.
“We’re just in our dream phase,” she said, adding that there’s no set timetable for its completion.
A plan of that “dream” is posted on the wall of the Fair Board Office at 668 NW 1st St.
Included on that plan is a 120-foot-by-200-foot indoor arena expected to replace the existing outdoor arena. Elliott was unsure how it would differ from the Harley Tucker/Chief Joseph Days Arena in Joseph, other than the Joseph arena is outdoors.
The plan shows the performance grounds surrounded by grandstands on two sides, an announcer’s booth, bucking chutes underneath the booth, other chutes available for a variety of purposes on each side of the booth, a ticket booth, concessions, restrooms and more.
The current indoor arena gets a lot of use and will be kept, Elliott said.
Projects now underway are less expensive and less affected by the weather.
The current calf-roping chutes are in the process of getting new gates. At least one has been installed and others are being built at Stangel Industries, said Greg Seufer, grounds manager. Since the chutes won’t be needed until springtime, he said, Stangel’s is building the gates as they get time between more urgent projects.
A bigger project involves replacing the wooden seats in the current, nearly century-old grandstand, Seufer said. The lumber has been delivered and is just waiting for another contractor to remove the old seats to repurpose the wood. That work, too, can be done amid snowy weather, though the repainting may have to wait. Once installed, the bleachers must be laser-leveled and will be painted the same shade of green as the old seats, Seufer said.
A new storage space under the grandstands was recently completed, Elliott said. Items such as open-class display racks will be stored there 50 weeks a year, she said.
Before the snow fell last week, work was completed to install electrical conduit to the animal barns, the Quonset hut used for storage and to vendors’ stalls, Elliott said. Further work on that has been halted until spring, she said.
Also on the “dream” horizon is a new valve and a pressure tank for the fairgrounds well/sprinkler system, Elliott said. She said they would like to add a pumphouse that could include a work shed for Seufer’s use.
The fairgrounds also will soon be ordering new, plastic chairs for the Cloverleaf Hall to replace the old, metal folding chairs long in use there. Elliott said they also hope to purchase a new barbecue for the food booth.
Many of these projects are scheduled for completion before next year’s fair, set for Aug. 1-8, Elliott said.
She expressed thanks for donations toward these projects, including one for $500 and another for $2,500. She said the fair board is always eager to accept more.
“If anyone wants to take up any of these projects, we’d be happy to have them help move them along,” Elliott said.