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Grants pay for improvements at the fairgrounds

The Vermillion Presbyterian Church was one of three buildings to receive restoration work through grant funding. It was the first building moved to the Dakota City Heritage Village site on the fairgrounds, in 1977. 1 / 2
The bellfry of the District 96 one room school building was reinforced this summer. 2 / 2

Once in a while, a little tender loving care is necessary. Even for century-old buildings.

Fortunately, a couple of buildings at Dakota City Heritage Village did receive a little TLC earlier this year, thanks to a $50,000 grant.

Just in time for the fair.

The funds were allocated through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s County Fair Art Access and Cultural Heritage Grant’s competitive grant program. The Dakota County Agriculture Society, which oversees the Dakota County Fair and Dakota City Heritage Village, applied for the grant.

Ag society president Marge Snyder credited Dakota City volunteer Lynn Stegmaier as the author of the grant application. Funds from the grant were used to do exterior renovations to three buildings at Dakota City.

“We felt that restoration of these buildings was important,” Snyder said. “They had several different fairs they could have chosen from, and they chose us.”

The Vermillion Presbyterian Church was the first building to be renovated. It was built in 1867 in Eureka Township, and moved to its current location at the fairgrounds in 1977. Beaver Creek Companies, Inc., of Farmington completed much of the work, which included stripping off the exterior lead-based paint and repainting the building.

The other two buildings to receive attention were the District 96 one room school building, which was constructed in 1902 and donated to the county fair in 1960, and a 1861 frame building that was originally used as a school, but has served as the gift shop at Dakota City in recent years.

“They were in need of (restoration),” Dakota City president Pearl Shirley said. “It’s nice to have that grant.”

The Dakota County Fair received two smaller grants, as well.

Through another application to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s County Fair Art Access and Cultural Heritage Grant - Equal Share’s program — a matching grant application — Dakota County Fair received a $7,483 grant that was used to update cabinets in the wood crafts and hobbies department.

The fair received another $3,000 grant this year from AgStar Financial Services. Funds from that grant were used to make updates in the livestock buildings at the fair, Snyder said.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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