Representatives of the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds had little to say Monday night, Sept. 9, about last week’s ruling by a judge who reinstated the ban on motorized racing at the race track.
While the fair board could still appeal the ruling by Special Judge Stephen Bowers on a partial summary judgment issued earlier this month, the decision appears to be a major setback in hopes of reinvigorating the old racing tradition at the fairgrounds that had been greatly silenced when an agreement was reached in 1989 between the fair and nearby homeowners who said the noise had become a problem.
The fair board began occasional races several years ago and made it clear they wanted to begin having more races to help financially support the fairgrounds.
Racing has been ceased for two summers as the suit by a new group of homeowners wound through the legal process.
Efforts to reach an agreement last year through mediation — which included an offer for some limited racing if operations ceased by a certain time of night — fell apart as the fair board hoped to set aside the 1989 ruling.
The judge’s 11-page ruling read in part, “Denying a permanent injunction, and thus allowing the fair to renege on its settlement agreement, would in the Court’s judgment seriously undermine the public interest,” Bowers wrote in his ruling.
Fair board President Kevin Harris said they were waiting to hear from their attorney about advice on what to do next and otherwise had a little comment in reaction to the ruling.
While the race track issue was a main component of the suit, plaintiffs raised the issue of nuisance complaint about other noise generated at the fairgrounds. That portion of the suit, which fair officials see as an attempt to shut down the fairgrounds, remains unresolved.
Exactly where that portion of the suit is headed is unclear.
Harris reiterated that that aspect is an important one they must continue to defend.
In the meantime, the board spent some of their time Monday night firming up plans for fundraisers, which will be used to defer legal costs.
It was unclear how much the board spent on legal fees for the entire suit but Harris said they’ve incurred about $37,000 this year in connection with the suit.
The next big fundraiser is the haunted house, which opens the last weekend in September and runs through October. It is open Friday and Saturday nights from 8 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $15. The Zombie Hunt, a paintball event, is $10.
The board is seeking more fundraising ideas and is asking for volunteers who can help prepare the haunted house. Anyone interested in helping should call the fair office at (574) 269-1823.