The Barton County Fair Board allowed Barton County to use its Expo III building for COVID-19 vaccinations. To show its appreciation, the County Commission Monday morning approved allocating $5,000 to the organization.
“The Fair Board allowed us full access to that building for the three months and did not request anything,” County Administrator Phil Hathcock said. “The site is large enough to allow vehicles to be staged and to allow nursing and support staff to provide vaccinations with some relief from the weather.”
In return for that, he felt it prudent the county make an offering to them.
He said the organization rents the facility for $400 a day. “So I think that would be in line for what we did.”
Hathcock noted the cost can be paid for out of COVID relief funds because it was a vaccination clinic.
In all, the county held 12 drive-through vaccination clinics at the site. County officials administered 4,839 prime doses and 3,107 booster doses, totalling 24.8% of the county’s adult population.
“I think it’s pretty generous of the Fair Board to allow that building to be used,” said Commission Chairman Jim Daily, District 4. “They didn’t have to do that.”
The board had the expense of electricity and heating the bathrooms as well.
The county worked with the City of Great Bend for this Wednesday’s clinic at Brit Spaugh Park. The change was made since Expo III had to be prepared for next week’s Great Bend Farm, Ranch and Hemp Expo.
Hathcock didn’t rule out returning to the Expo Complex west of town. But, “I would not want to guess on what we’ll be doing in the future. This has always been a very fluid situation.”
“We really appreciate this offer. It wasn’t expected,” said Fair Board President Charles Atkinson. “The board felt that this is something we needed to do for the community because the community supported us for many years.
“I’ve had several letters, very touching letters, from people thanking us for the use of the facility,” he said. “This drives home the importance that it was the right thing to do.”
Atkinson said the offer was a generous one. “Thank you very much and if there’s anything else we can do to help, keep in touch with us.”
He said the fair is heading into its 30th anniversary. “Our theme for this year is a new beginning.”
This ties into the Santa Fe Trail’s 200th anniversary. But, it also taps into emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One thing we thought about was when all those people came across this country, they were looking for a new beginning,” Atkinson said. “And I think that would be something that we’re looking forward to.”