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Surprise grant is blue-ribbon win for fair

State funds aim to fix flood issues plaguing county fairgrounds

By Luke Whittaker

lwhittaker@crbizjournal.com

Published on July 10, 2018 2:33PM

Bill Monohon witnessed flooding shortly after accepting the Pacific County Fair manager position in April. “The sawdust would be swirling and running out of the building,” he said.

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Bill Monohon witnessed flooding shortly after accepting the Pacific County Fair manager position in April. “The sawdust would be swirling and running out of the building,” he said.

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Mold and mildew claimed sections of the vegetable and plant buildings following the flooding this spring.

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Mold and mildew claimed sections of the vegetable and plant buildings following the flooding this spring.

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French drains are part of the water drainage remediation planned for the sewing, floral and vegetable buildings. “There are downspouts that go into nothing,” Monohon said.

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

French drains are part of the water drainage remediation planned for the sewing, floral and vegetable buildings. “There are downspouts that go into nothing,” Monohon said.

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Monohon, 64, recently took a grant-writing class at Grays Harbor College. “I now know a lot more about how to apply and where to look for thing,” he said. “I can’t wait until this fall, I’m really going to start looking for monies to make a change here.”

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Monohon, 64, recently took a grant-writing class at Grays Harbor College. “I now know a lot more about how to apply and where to look for thing,” he said. “I can’t wait until this fall, I’m really going to start looking for monies to make a change here.”

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Monohon grew up in the Willapa Valley area. “Both sides of the family were dairy farmers,” he said. “We had the Monohon Dairy and used to deliver milk to all the schools and doorsteps.”

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Monohon grew up in the Willapa Valley area. “Both sides of the family were dairy farmers,” he said. “We had the Monohon Dairy and used to deliver milk to all the schools and doorsteps.”

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The artwork of Elaine Delanoy, 75, has brought an added splash of color to the fairground buildings. Delanoy has served as the superintendent of the hobby room for the past 46 years. “I just love doing it,” Delanoy said. “It’s the only time I get to yell at the running kids.”

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

The artwork of Elaine Delanoy, 75, has brought an added splash of color to the fairground buildings. Delanoy has served as the superintendent of the hobby room for the past 46 years. “I just love doing it,” Delanoy said. “It’s the only time I get to yell at the running kids.”

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Elaine Delanoy tested one of her spinning wooden flower prototypes Thursday, June 21. Over the past two years, Delanoy has cut and painted dozens of butterflies, flowers, frogs, rabbits, chickens, pigs, cows and clowns from plywood to decorate the fairgrounds. “The wind will spin them and make them turn,” Delanoy said.

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Elaine Delanoy tested one of her spinning wooden flower prototypes Thursday, June 21. Over the past two years, Delanoy has cut and painted dozens of butterflies, flowers, frogs, rabbits, chickens, pigs, cows and clowns from plywood to decorate the fairgrounds. “The wind will spin them and make them turn,” Delanoy said.

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MENLO — During heavy rains in April the sawdust would swirl in a wild torrent before funneling down the hallway of the horse barn. When the showers subsided, pools of standing water filled the interior of the sewing, floral and vegetable buildings. In some sections, mold and mildew began claiming interior walls. Only weeks after assuming the manager position for the Pacific County Fair, a reckoning poured over Bill Monohon.

“When the rains came, that’s when I realized all the water problems we had,” Monohon, 64, said. Monohon immediately notified board members, who acknowledged flooding was a frequent problem. Discussions about installing proper drainage — estimated at more than $60,000 — always stalled at the funding stage.

“We just haven’t had the money,” Monohon said.


Sending out a prayer


On April 1, Monohon officially relieved former manager Dotsi Graves. During the transition, Graves gave Monohon paperwork for a potential grant that, if awarded, could provide funding to alleviate the flooding issues plaguing the fairgrounds. The deadline however, was only days away and Monohon admittedly lacked experience in the formal process.

“I never had written a grant in my life,” he said.

Monohon hammered out a few hasty emails and reached out to board member Chuck Poellnitz about potential costs for fixing the problem. Poellnitz, who has a background in construction, estimated the cost at $63,215.


May brings good news


In May, Washington state received $3.3 million in grant requests with only $1.5 million available with priority to those with matching funds.

“We had no matching funds,” Monohon recalled. Despite the circumstances, $53,733 of the $63,215 grant proposal was awarded by Washington state and the Washington State Department of Agriculture Fairs Program.

The grant money is to be used specifically for:

• Water drainage remediation of the sewing building, floral and vegetable buildings and installing French drains

• Connecting downspouts to county drainage system on sewing, floral and vegetable buildings

• Mold and mildew remediation in the storage area and adjoining vegetable building

• Resurfacing all disturbed areas once French drains are installed

The work will be completed by the Pacific County Public Works Department — after the 2018 fair but before the beginning of the rainy season — by June 30, 2019. A second grant of $1,388 by the Mandel family was made to the Friends of the Fair Foundation to reconfigure walkways, repair railings and add shaded bleachers. The work will be completed before the 2018 fair on Aug. 22 through Aug. 25.

“We’re going to bring it up to ADA Americans with Disabilities Act) standards,” Monohon said. “It will make for a better, safer fair.”









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