City Administrator Jim Briggs

Washington City Council members agreed this week to contribute $10,000 toward completing the new building in the motor sports arena at the fairgrounds.

The Washington Area Chamber of Commerce, which is sponsoring the project, anticipates a cost overrun of approximately $20,000.

The two-story building will have a concession stand, restrooms, a ticket office and a balcony for judges and announcers to use during motor sports events.

City Administrator Jim Briggs said the project is being financed by the Chamber out of Fair profits, however, the building will be turned over to the city once it’s completed.

“Although this facility is primarily used for the events associated with the annual Fair, it also will be available for other organizations utilizing the arena,” Briggs said in a letter to the council, noting that the facility is used for demolition derby and rodeo events.

The building originally was expected to cost $90,000, however, the final price will be closer to $107,000, according to a Chamber spokesperson.

Briggs recommended contributing $10,000, or 50 percent, of the cost overrun.

He noted that the extra expense was due to delays in the project, including some caused by the city requiring architectural seals on work items.

“We’re getting a $100,000 building for $10,000,” Councilman Jeff Patke noted. “It will be used for many things other than the Fair.”

Briggs said the city’s contribution can come out of reserve funds. He suggested the Fair pay the remaining $10,000 out of future Fair profits.

The economic benefits of the Fair are “staggering,” remarked Councilman Josh Brinker who offered a second to Patke’s motion to approve the allocation.

Councilman Mark Hidritch said he’s already heard complaints about spending money on another building. He said council members should be prepared to be questioned on the decision since it was noted earlier that tax dollars would not go for the project.

The council voted unanimously to approve the payment.