The Pacific County Fair has been awarded two separate grants that will enable some much need upgrades and repairs to the grounds.
Bill Monohon took over as the manager of the Pacific County Fair in April and quickly learned that grants were open with only a short time to apply. "When I first started in April after Dosti, I started going through our mail here," he said. "I stumbled upon a piece of mail that had information for some grant money. So I fired off an email to see if there was still grants and learned there was and I barely had a few weeks to apply."
Monohon openly admitted he had no experience writing grants, but figured it couldn't hurt to try. Mentioning though, that he had previous management experience in a large gas company and drew upon that experience to get things moving on the grants.
According to Monohon and many others improvements have been drastically needed at the fair and this spring brought a clear sign. "When we got the heavy rains in April," Monohon said. "Water was running through the horse building in what I can only call a river of water. And when I opened the sewing building water came rushing out with about 2-3 inches of standing water still inside."
Monohon then surveyed the issue to determine the best solution and realized the best option would be French drains to keep the water away from buildings. The vegetable building was so affected by the heavy rains that a portion will need to be gutted and/or replaced. "We won't really know how bad it is until the mold inspectors comes," he said. "But, as you can tell it's pretty bad and could possibly make people sick."
Once all calculations were completed Monohon learned it would cost approximately $63,215 to perform all the work. He then filled out the grant and with a little leeway with a deadline he submitted all the necessary paperwork. "Weeks went by without hearing a word back," he said. "The board began to start getting a little nervous. We knew from the beginning those with matching funds get priority and unfortunately for us we had zero."
Finally, on May 22 the state reached out to Monohon and asked if the fair would be willing to accept 15% less that what he requested. "I was like absolutely," he said. "It meant we would get $53,733, but without having matching funds and this being the first time I've ever applied for a grant I considered it a big win."
The state received $3.3 million in grant request and only had $1.5 million to disperse with the fairgrounds receiving $53,733. Monohon was also able to secure a separate $1,388.35 grant. Thanks to both grants the French drains will be installed, downspouts will be connected to the drainage system at the fair, mold and mildew mediation will be performed, and all disturbed areas will be resurfaced after the French drains are completed.
Monohon has since taken a grant writing class that was offered in Grays Harbor County along with securing a contact to help him through the process if needed next time. He credits the State of Washington and Washington State Department of Agriculture's Fair Program for making everything possibly and working with him on the deadline to submit the grants paperwork. "They are all wonderful people," he said. "Now I know how the process works and can be better prepared for the next time."