The Recorder - Editorial: Ag. society inches toward erosion solution

Published: 4/28/2021 5:02:35 PM The problem of erosion at the Franklin County Fairgrounds would daunt any lesser group of people. Bu...

Published: 4/28/2021 5:02:35 PM

The problem of erosion at the Franklin County Fairgrounds would daunt any lesser group of people. But board members of the Franklin County Agricultural Society are made of stern stuff, having shown their mettle over the course of countless meetings with engineers, legislators and state and local governing bodies.

Erosion problems are notoriously expensive to fix, requiring engineering expertise, large pieces of equipment and human labor. The stomach-churning saga came to a head in early 2019 with a report that pegged the cost to remediate at about $500,000. It might as well have been $500 million, so far beyond the means of the nonprofit that this estimate was.

Fundraisers were begun, including a GoFundMe online campaign, and a successful community tag sale in July 2019 was spearheaded by local radio stations. Those efforts — like the annual fair itself — were derailed last year by the coronavirus pandemic, which put a stop to most uses of the fairgrounds, which is how the Franklin County Agricultural Society supports itself.

Fast forward to 2021 and the board seems to have whittled the problem down to size. The latest estimate, based on the lowest bid, came in at $201,000. A $96,000 grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be used, leaving the society to come up with the balance of $106,000. Agricultural Society President Michael Nelson said the society can contribute about $25,000 to the project, from savings and donations. But that leaves about $75,000 to go.

The next step is procedural: The latest engineering plan has to be approved by the Conservation Commission following a May 11 presentation.

To surmount the final hurtle, Nelson is turning to the community to help raise the remaining $75,000. Seventy-five thousand dollars should not be a deal-breaker, given this community’s affection for all things agricultural. In late summer 2010, for example, supporters helped the Franklin County Agricultural Society complete a $200,0000 restoration of the iconic Roundhouse with bake sales, raffles and more (remember Mayor William Martin’s stint as a Taylor’s Tavern celebrity bartender?).

“It’s been a tough year with COVID and we’ve been fighting to stay afloat,” Nelson said, “But we’re committed to doing this.”

We’re betting this community is made of the same stern stuff as the Franklin County Agricultural Society board and will come through once again. To donate to help repair the slope, send your check to Franklin County Agricultural Society/Franklin County Fair, P.O. box 564, Greenfield MA 01302. Write “Mudslide Donation” on the memo line.

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Newsrust - US Top News: The Recorder - Editorial: Ag. society inches toward erosion solution
The Recorder - Editorial: Ag. society inches toward erosion solution
Newsrust - US Top News
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