County to rebuild fair grandstand two years after arson

Shelby County commissioners have awarded a $2.3 million contract for construction of the new grandstand to Zionsville-based RL Turner Corp.

The previous 133-year-old grandstand was one of few similar wooden structures left in the state when it burned down in a May 2012 fire that investigators ruled was arson. No arrests have been made.

A date hasn't been set for construction to start, although the completion target date is June 20, The Shelbyville News reported. This year's Shelby County Fair is set to start July 6.

"There has been large community support with this project, and it has been stressed to us that everyone needs to stay involved," county Commissioner Kevin Nigh said.

Temporary metal bleachers were built along the fairgrounds track after the fire in the city about 25 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

County officials previously approved a taking out a $2.45 million loan for the grandstand project to be repaid from the county's economic development income tax fund by 2024.

Nigh said the county needed to take out a loan for the project because the fair board didn't have the money or resources for financing it.

Officials are still working with the insurance company on a settlement from the 2012 fire, and fundraisers are being planned for the new grandstand, Nigh said.

"We plan to have this paid off before the due date," he said.

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