Fairgrounds supporters deserve residents’ vote

To the editor:

I would like to offer some comments about the fairgrounds project. Let me state that I am a member of the Hancock County 4-H Ag Association Board of Directors and an appointee from the Ag Association to the Hancock County Exposition Complex Corp. board of directors.

Over four years ago, a group of concerned parents and leaders developed a plan to build a large covered arena at the current fairgrounds to provide a much-needed venue for the participants of the 4-H horse and pony project.

Several community leaders began to take notice of their efforts and decided to revive the discussion of building a new fairground facility. In November 2013, a meeting was organized and attended by more than 30 community leaders, elected officials, concerned parents and citizens to discuss the potential of building a new fairground facility.

One of the first questions asked that night was “Why did this project fail over a decade ago?”

The answer it seems was an inability to come to an agreement over the operation and management of the facility. The group agreed that should be the first issue we resolved.

The Hancock County Exposition Complex Corp. (X-Plex Board) was created to allow input, guidance and support from the many groups within the community that would need to be part of the project and provided an agreeable solution for operation and management of the facility.

Many of our local elected officials have worked to support this project. Tom Stevens, Kent Fisk, Bill Bolander, Jim Shelby and Tom Roney have been outspoken supporters of finding a way to work with the boards upon which they serve, the Ag Association and citizens of this community to make this project a positive impact on the Hancock County community.

I applaud them for their commitment to this community and to their records of service and the impact their leadership has had.

There have been many comments over recent months about this project. It is interesting that a lot of the comments have come from citizens that have only made an effort to stand in the way and make negative comments about those that are working hard to make a positive impact on the community they serve.

I choose not to try to understand why a person would prefer to offer negative statements about a community project like this rather than helping to identify solutions.

I instead choose to be thankful for the many people that have offered their time and talents to continue to push the project forward. There will also be opportunities for us all to continue working together to make this a successful project.

I support the local elected officials that have been supportive of this project even when faced with negative statements made by those that oppose not only this project but many decisions these officials have made during their terms of service.

We will all soon have the opportunity to support various candidates that are seeking office in the next election. I encourage everyone to educate themselves about where the candidates stand on the issues that impact our community and vote.

Darrin Couch

Wilkinson