The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Another $10,000 grant received for indoor event center project


May 16, 2018

Dennis and Laura Kleinjan pose with parts for the 100 by 200 feed metal building that will become the new indoor event center at the Blaine County Fairgrounds. The never assembled building was acquired by Blaine County from Malmstrom Air Force Base through a program that allows local governments to receive federal surplus property. Promoters of the project have raised $50,000 toward a needed $150,000 to prepare a building site and erect the building.

The Blaine County Fair Board was notified recently of a $10,000 grant award to buy and wire 50 LED lights for the new indoor event center to be erected at the county fairgrounds. Laura Kleinjan, who has already written several successful grants for the project, said, "I heard about this Montana-based foundation from a friend. The foundation funds "brick and mortar" projects, perfect for what we are trying to do." The indoor center can host a number of events ranging from car and gun shows to livestock events that need to be held out of the weather. The center will have a dirt floor.

Volunteers promoting the indoor center have already raised $50,000 of an expected $150,000 needed to prepare a site and erect the building. The 100 by 200 feet metal building was acquired by Blaine County a few years ago as surplus from Malmstrom Air Force Base. Anticipating the need for some way to fund the building without using county funds, the Fair Board approved the foundation in November, 2016. The 501(c)(3) status of the foundation means donors can take a tax deduction for donations they make. Promoters say having the tax free foundation has been critical to their success with non-profit agencies that fund grant applications as well as individual donors. Fundraising started a year ago.

In addition to the most recent grant award, the indoor event project has also received community grants from Triangle Communications and Northwest Farm Credit Services. The Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development awarded a $22,000 grant in January of this year toward costs of erecting the building. During December of last year an anonymous donor pledged $1,000 if that amount could be matched by other donors. Kleinjan said, "That $1,000 pledge was turned in to $3,000 as folks stepped up to match the challenge. The Fair Foundation also ran a raffle that netted additional funds for the project.

Work on the project is planned in two stages. The initial site work will be done by Moxley Construction. The company's proposal includes building a 120 by 220 feet pad and spreading existing material already at the site. Dan Moxley said, "We are planning to begin work as soon as the weather permits. We'll grub (remove vegetation) from the pad site and spread some existing material we earlier removed from the rodeo arena a couple of years ago during a wet season. Then we'll add pit run gravel and grade the new fill."

The second stage will be the actual assembly and erection of the metal building. Recently the building parts, which had never been assembled, were moved from a county site south of Chinook to the west edge of the fairgrounds. The overhead doors for the building were not part of the surplus package. Kleinjan said a grant is submitted and pending that would provide funds for the doors.

Readers wishing more information about making a donation to support the completion of the indoor event center can get information by calling or texting Laura Kleinjan at 390-2651. Or, you can mail a donation to the Blaine County Fair Foundation at P.O. Box 1207, Chinook, MT 59523.


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