The days are numbered for a building in which young 4-H members have made memories for more than 50 years.
The Delaware County Agricultural Society is devising plans to replace the county fairgrounds' Junior Fair building -- also known as the 4-H building and constructed in 1964 by first driving wooden posts into the ground -- with a new building that could cost more than $2 million.
Those posts are showing signs of decomposition, said county fair manager Sandra Kuhn, meaning the 9,600-square-foot building that sits parallel to Pennsylvania Avenue is due for replacement.
During the annual county fair, the building houses displays created by 4-H clubs, plus Junior Fair clothing and photography exhibits and some judged events, Kuhn said.
The new building will contain 24,080 square feet, Kuhn said. The building's price tag will depend on the cost of steel, she said, which has fluctuated recently. The timeline for the project is unclear.
It will be funded by the county bed tax, which raises money for infrastructure improvements at the fairgrounds. The 3 percent tax on hotel bills was approved by county voters in 2016 and is scheduled to run for five years.
The fair board hopes to see the issue return to the ballot for renewal, Kuhn said.
Fair board member Chip Thomson earlier said the fair board is grateful for the public's support in enacting the tax and is determined to be good stewards of the funds.
Delaware City Council was scheduled to give the building's combined preliminary and final development plans a second reading at its year-end meeting Dec. 20.
During the ordinance's first reading Dec. 10, Delaware Planning Director Dave Efland said the new structure will be a "beautiful building" that can include a museum, an office and assembly space. It will have a paved parking area on its west side.
"This building is really pretty remarkable," he said, "and I think will make a really grand statement along Pennsylvania Avenue and provide the fair board a lot of utility. ... I think it will complement our community well and enhance that Pennsylvania kind of gateway corridor."
He said the fairgrounds includes several "paper alleys" -- areas set aside as rights of way for alleys that were never constructed. The agricultural society will petition to have those alleys "vacated," which would remove their alley status. Kuhn said one such alley is under the current Junior Fair building.
Efland said the fairgrounds, which sits inside city limits, is zoned residential.
The proposed ordinance calls for the agricultural society to submit a request for rezoning to "something more appropriate, probably a planned district," Efland said.
The deadline for that submission is June 1, 2020.
One condition of approval for rezoning, he said, is that the agricultural society give the city right of way for a bicycle path running from Pennsylvania Avenue to West Central Avenue.
The agricultural society has been working on a future master plan for the fairgrounds, he said, which is likely to form a basis of its rezoning request.