Between now and the completion of electrical upgrades in late June, the public will have limited access to some of the riding arenas, and some long-term camping will shift to spots on the fairgrounds’ west end.
The work underway at the grounds will add lights to two of the three riding arenas and allow them to be used after sundown year-round. The horse barn area and the adjacent parking lot to the west are getting new lights, too.
“Arena lighting has been on the wish list for a number of years, and having an opportunity to increase safety lighting around the barns and parking area is a great plus,” said Fair Director Jennifer Lohrenz in the release.
Major trenching already is in progress, so the arenas have been closed to public use.
The south arena and round pen is expected to re-open Monday, while the main arena will be closed until the project is completed. Power and water also will be unavailable in the entire area.
Some 40 camping sites in the construction area also were closed for the work.
To address the temporary reduction in camp sites, the county has made improvements to spots on the west side that allow them to be used for long-term camping.
The need to irrigate the west side of the grounds and the watering schedules previously limited the camping there, but the sod has since been removed and replaced with road base by county staff. That will allow the area to be utilized year round for both overnight and long-term camping.
“We appreciate all of the work the Road and Bridge crew and Buildings and Grounds crew have done to get our camping area ready to go,” Fair Board President Robby Newkirk said in the release.
Crews with Worland’s Process Power and Control — the contractor on the electrical work — will install new conduit and wiring to new RV pedestals on the east end, which will enable them to handle the larger electrical loads of modern RVs. Another five pedestals will be added for wider RVs. Lohrenz said the upgrades to the pedestals and new electrical service should lead to lower utility costs for the camping area.
Process Power and Control also will install a utility transformer, concrete and minor landscaping as well as burying electrical wiring that formerly was overhead.
This work is the second phase of efforts begun in 2010 to upgrade the fairgrounds’ outdated electrical grid. It is expected to be completed by the end of June.