Current fairgrounds is no longer a ‘safe’ venue

Dear Editor,

Let me first say I’ve been blessed to have grown up in Gallia County, attend school in Gallia County and, after college, returned to Gallia County, where I’ve also been blessed with a working career that has spanned more than four decades.

I’ve come to appreciate the discipline and responsibility 4-H instills in the young people of our county, skills such as responsibly caring for both plants and animals, running an efficient meeting, keeping accurate minutes and completing projects on time. As parents and grandparents, with so many negative influences today, we are all concerned with the futures of our young people. May I suggest there are few institutions more positive in the lives of our children and grandchildren than 4-H?

Fellow Gallia County residents, the Gallia County Jr. Fair, for more than half a century, has provided a safe venue for scores of Gallia County young people to display the projects that required countless hours of work. The location of our fairgrounds is no longer the “safe” venue it once was.

This year, once again, a fair-destroying and, perhaps, life-taking flood occurred just one week before the fair began. For the safety of our most valuable resource, our young people, we must relocate the fairgrounds. We are fortunate the fair board already owns the property for relocation. We are fortunate that our county commissioners have approved a financing source that is time specific (20 years), amount specific (a one-quarter of 1 percent sales tax).

While the Gallia County Jr. Fair is more than 4-H, all those other activities that are “more than 4-H” will also benefit from the relocation. We’re talking about “25 cents per $100 spent” is the investment to be made.

Perhaps the best summary of the value of 4-H is a comment sausage maker Bob Evans once made: “If we had more 4-H camps, we’d need fewer prisons.”

Jeff Smith