Old Fairground demolition stirs memories
By John Meng General Manager/Editor
Time, the elements and the occasional hurricane has taken a dramatic toll on the Old Fairgrounds buildings, and compelled county officials to clean up the property. Those actions have created a stir on social media among Jackson County residents.
For five decades the old fairgrounds, located on FM 822, were the central attraction for families and children, an exciting escape from the daily doldrums, a place with farm animals, rodeos, dances, bright lights, carnival rides and cotton candy. But today, the old barns and pavilions are collapsing quicker than people’s fond memories of those glory days.
One resident wrote on social media, “Are you aware that someone is tearing down the old fair ground barns? What a shame to see one of Jackson County landmarks being torn down! The barns and fairground have been standing for a very long time!”
Unfortunately, the pavilions and fairground have fallen in serious disrepair and become a hazard for anyone on the property.
“There have been some questions on social media and calls to my office as to what is going on with the Old Fairgrounds,” said Jackson County Judge Jill Sklar. “According to the deed records, the County purchased the property along with rodeo pens, arena, stands/bleachers in 1953 for $26,000. Over the years the property has been used for many things, but most notably it was the home of the Jackson County Fair. The fair moved to the BRC in 2009.
“Although I haven’t been in this position long, it is my understanding there hasn’t been motivation from the community to figure out a good use of the property. The county was approached by a baseball group and they have been utilizing one of the pavilions for training purposes. It has also been used for cook off fundraisers over the last couple of years. As anyone can see, the structures have deteriorated greatly. After Hurricane Harvey they became hazardous and beyond repair. With no potential use, sinking tax dollars into such a big improvement project didn’t seem wise. Because children are now using the property, commissioner’s court decided it had to be cleaned up.”
According to county officials, only two of the buildings on the Old Fairgrounds will be demolished and then there will be some maintenance and repairs on the roads.