ERIE — The Neosho County Fair Association received a grant Thursday afternoon for up to $19,000, which will allow the organization to purchase kitchen equipment for the new exhibit building on the Neosho County Fairgrounds.
“This is going to be a really great building for the county. It has room for meetings, it has a commercial grade kitchen, meaning everything is stainless steel, and it has a big 75’ by 85’ room for events,” Fair Board Treasurer Kathy Brazle said. “The kitchen has a three-bay sink, a very large commercial grade refrigerator and we also have three stainless steel tables. And for the first time in the history of the fairgrounds, we now have an ice machine, which will come in handy in the summer months.”
Brazle said the grant will reimburse the Fair Association up to 35 percent of the total cost of kitchen equipment.
The kitchen will be registered with the USDA as an incubator kitchen for entrepreneurs to use while they are starting a new business, meaning the kitchen can be rented out for a short period of time.
Brazle expects people who sell items at the Farmers Market to use the facility for canning purposes because of the three large tables.
Also included in the grant was funding for new tables and chairs.
The Fair Board will meet in a week and decide when to hold a grand opening for the new facility.
“We are really proud of this building and we want to show it off to the people in our county. We had hoped to have it completed in time for the fair, but that didn’t happen. It should be finished by the end of this week. We would like to have all the people who helped us write the grants – this was all paid for by various grants – and all the contractors and everyone else out here to see it, because this is going to be a building people can use for several years to come,” Brazle said.
She expects the grand opening to take place in October.
“Modern, community infrastructure can provide numerous opportunities for economic growth,” USDA Rural State Director for Kansas Lynne Hinrichsen said. “Whether it’s a modern and accessible kitchen used during a county fair or the same facilities used by entrepreneurs who are starting new businesses, rural communities rely on modern infrastructure to invigorate and serve their town and public. Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Deputy Undersecretary for Rural Development Bette Brand, USDA is dedicated to rural communities like Neosho (County) and their long-term commitments to economic prosperity; because when rural America prospers, all of America prospers.”
Yates Center receives $42,000 grant
The USDA also announced it will be investing $42,200 in Yates Center to purchase emergency response equipment for the city’s fire and law enforcement departments.
Yates Center will contribute $14,152 in the project.
USDA said the funds will enable the city to purchase safe, up-to-date equipment to ensure the continued safety of its emergency and first responders and nearly 1,500 community members that they serve.