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Closed meeting planned to discuss sale of Wadena County Fairgrounds

A crowd of interested buyers filled up the Beer Garden building at the Wadena County Fairgrounds Saturday, April 20. The second annual bull sale drew a good crowd of folks looking for some seed to build their herds. It was put on by 2Ten Cattle Company and included 46 bulls on the sale. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

A special closed meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m., Thursday, April 25, at the Wadena County Courthouse for Wadena County Commissioners to develop or consider offers or counteroffers for the sale of the Wadena County Fairgrounds to Tri-County Health Care for the location of a new hospital.

Commissioners said Tuesday, the meeting would not be opened to take any action.

The topic remains in discussion mode as Tri-County Health Care is still assessing several locations and the costs associated with this project, according to TCHC communication specialist Jessica Sly. "So we don't yet have complete pricing data that would allow us to put forth an offer on the fairgrounds," she added.

Commissioners Monson and Stearns said they met with several fair board members, Wadena city representatives and hospital representatives this week to discuss possible purchase and locations for the fairgrounds to relocate to, if that decision was made.

Stearns said it was an opportunity to exchange ideas. One thing that was decided was that Tri-County Health Care would pay for a master plan of a new fairgrounds, at a cost of about $16,000, according to Stearns. That master plan would be a blueprint of what a new fairgrounds would look like.

The Tri-County Health Care board approved hiring a master planning architect Monday night, "to work with the fair to help them assess their needs so that we can determine what the costs would be to move the fair to a new location," Sly shared in an email.

Stearns said the fair board would meet weekly with a design team to create such a plan. He added that these steps were all a part of the county doing their due diligence.

When contacted for comment about some of these steps, fair board director Mike Olson said he had no comment and added that other fair board members "should also have no comment."