MCHENRY — An economic development study of the Garrett County Fairgrounds will be partially funded by a $20,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

“The board is pleased the study is being funded by DBED, ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission) and Garrett County,” Debra Friend, president of the Board of Directors of the Garrett County Agriculture Fair Inc. said in a news release.

“We recognize that increasing the utilization of the fairground facilities will contribute to the continued viability of the fair itself, as well as making space available to county residents and businesses in which to hold a variety of events.”

According to Monty Pagenhardt, county administrator, the study would consider the viability of using the fairgrounds for other activities throughout the year. It is hoped the study will also help to determine how best to use the planned exhibit hall.

He said Jim Hinebaugh, county economic development director, was instrumental in getting the funds for the study.

The five-month study is being conducted by HOK Smith Forkner out of Knoxville, Tenn., which has been responsible for the planning and design of more than 180 fairgrounds throughout the U.S., including the Maryland State Fair, Montgomery County Agricultural Fair and the State Fair of Virginia.

“This grant represents a continuing commitment to support rural Maryland’s agricultural industry by maximizing the opportunities the Garrett County fairgrounds can offer to residents and businesses,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said. “We are pleased to leverage state funding with ARC and our local partners for this important study.”

ARC is matching the funding of $20,000, with Garrett County and the fair board providing the remaining $8,600.

Denny Glotfelty, Garrett County Commission chairman, said the study will be of great benefit to the county.

“It’s a good thing to be able to help the fairground organize for the future,” Glotfelty said. “Anytime we can study for the future, it’s a good thing.”

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