Press-Republican

July 4, 2011

Essex County to tear down dairy barn at fairgrounds

LOHR McKINSTRY
Press-Republican

WESTPORT — Safety issues have prompted Essex County lawmakers to order the razing of the dairy barn at the County Fairgrounds in Westport.

The demolition is due to disrepair and snow damage that occurred over the winter, Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said.

He said the structure poses significant safety risks, and the County Department of Public Works will take it down.

"I have determined that the dairy barn at the fair is in such poor condition it cannot be used," he said. "There are several of the supports at the peak that are snapped. It is leaning up against a tree and also leaning up against another shed. It won't take much for it to fall over."

He said livestock normally housed in the barn during fair week will be relocated to other barns at the fairgrounds.

The fair is Aug. 10 through 14, so demolition will take place before that, LaVigne said.

"Demolition of the dairy barn will be completed soon."

NEW BARN NEEDED

Supervisor Daniel Connell (D-Westport) said the 4-H barn at the fairgrounds will be used to house animals that would have been at the dairy barn. The 4-H barn was recently painted and is in good shape, he said.

The dairy barn should probably be replaced for the 2012 fair, he said.

"It would make more sense to me to do a bigger barn with portable stalls for the cows, like Clinton County does."

Lavigne said a new barn was in the fairgrounds budget for this year but was removed.

He'll submit it again for 2012.

"We'll see how that goes."

He said the work could be done in stages.

"That dairy barn is 230 feet long, so you're looking at about $250,000 to replace the whole thing."

The County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously for the demolition. LaVigne said it would have been a hazard to leave it up during fair week.

Email Lohr McKinstry at: lmckinstry@pressrepublican.com