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Livestock barn to be replaced

The Van Buren County Fair Association is in need of a new livestock barn.

The structure was heavily damaged during an ice storm in December. Fair Manager Corrine Weatherly said a federal inspector declared the livestock barn 70-90 percent damaged and plans are to tear it down.

The Fair Association board is securing bids and is hoping to get FEMA assistance to rebuild.

Weatherly said the livestock barn was not insured, though the other structures on the fairgrounds on Highway 16 are insured.

Appeals on Facebook and radio for donations for money to help rebuild the structure are not from the Fair Board, Weatherly said. She said the board is not asking county residents for money.

Weatherly said the board hopes to have a bigger livestock barn rebuilt by September to “house our growing livestock show.”

“We’re trying to turn a disaster into a blessing,” she said.

“Just in case” there is no new structure by this fall, another location has been secured for the auction, she said.

“We have history to create as the generations of livestock-show kids come through those gates,” Weatherly said.

This year’s county fair is set for Sept. 6-13.

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