County fair’s 99-year lease for Memorial Park unanimously approved by Owensville aldermen

Dave Marner

Gasconade County Fair’s 2018 theme “Proud of the Past; Poised for the Future”   was never more evident Monday as Owensville aldermen gave unanimous approval to an ordinance authorizing the mayor to sign a 99-year lease of Memorial Park ground for a $1 annual rental.

Ordinance No. 1255 grants the Gasconade County Fair Association exclusive possession of the park, excluding the golf course and water park, for 14 days prior to the fair’s scheduled opening and 14 days after its close. This summer’s fair is scheduled July 25-28. Last summer was the 70th annual Gasconade County Fair.

Under the agreement approved on a 4-0 vote, the Fair Association “guarantees” that “it shall invest annually in maintenance, repairs and improvements” no less than $6,500 “per lease year in the lease property.”

Starting in the 11th year of the lease, the Fair Association, a 501c4 not-for-profit organization, pledges to increase its annual guarantee for improvements by $1,000 for the next 10-year period. And, the fair will do so again each subsequent 10-year period until the lease expires in 2116 when that guarantee reaches $15,500 annually.

The city of Owensville receives a $6,500 payment in advance from the Fair Association for the first year of the new lease, which began back in October 2017.

The 99-year lease is separated into 5-year terms and successive terms “shall commence automatically without any action required by the lessee.” The first segment of the lease begins with the current fair year.

If the city was to seek a termination of the lease agreement, two-year written notice would be required and the city would be required to pay the Fair Association an amount equal to the three previous year’s worth of gross receipts.

Gross receipts from the three previous fairs was around $1.5 million, according to a long-time association member.

Nicholas Baxter, president of the Fair Association and Owensville Mayor John Kamler are designated to sign the lease for their respective boards.

Nearly 50 visitors attended the meeting including at least 32 from the Fair Association, representatives of the Owensville Park Board, and several Planning and Zoning Commission members. Additional coverage will continue in next week’s edition.