By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
With the Seward County Five State Fair just a few weeks away, the land that plays home to the fair needs to be in top shape for all the event has in store for those who come to partake in the fun.
The county’s fairgrounds have experienced several water leaks and issues over the years, and the county commission took a step toward fixing some of those problems Monday evening.
The board approved a bid from King Enterprises of Liberal in the amount of just more than $5,000 to run a four-inch water line near the Extension office on Stadium Road.
Information in the meeting’s agenda packet indicated the line could be extended at a later date for other areas of the fairgrounds.
Administrator April Warden said at the meeting, bids had been put out for the project, and four had come back, including the one from King.
Warden said the leaks that take place normally do so at fair time, and she said the county likewise does not have a good set of maps for the water lines at the fairgrounds.
“When we do have a leak, we’ve been known to dig and hit other things as we’re trying to fix one water leak,” she said. “There’s been discussion on this for years.”
Warden said the latest discussion came up recently at the commission’s May 19 meeting, when officials with the Extension’s Master Gardener program approached the board about help with a sprinkler system at the local K-State office.
“They proposed some community project to you, and at that time, the discussion of the four-inch water line came back up,” Warden said.
The administrator added at that time, the board had given her direction to get with maintenance supervisor Delbert Stebens to solicit bids for the water line project.
“Because it was under $10,000, we did not have to publish it in the newspaper, but our policy does state that we go out and get at least three bids,” Warden said. “We were able to get four bids.”
County officials took careful measures to make sure all vendors were bidding on the same things, according to Warden.
“We did have specs for each of them to look at to make sure they were bidding apples to apples,” she said.
Master Gardener officials also wanted to propose some community projects they would like to complete at the Extension office at the May 19 meeting.
At that time, the commission approved to allow up to $3,000 for a sprinkler system for the Master Gardeners.
Monday, commissioner C.J. Wettstein said he had talked to people with the Master Gardener program, a backflow preventer needed to be put in next to the water meter. That, he said, would have cost another $4,500.
“They thought we were just running a line to the 4-H deal,” he said. “That was all with the Extension council, and that was all that we were doing. I had the city come back out, and I said at a later time, we’re planning on going to the race track.”
After Wettstein explained this to the Master Gardener group, it was agreed a backflow preventer was not necessary at the water meter.
“I told them if we had a backflow preventer there and ran the lines on, if we had a backflow situation, it could contaminate all our drinking water to the fairgrounds,” he said.
Wettstein explained what would be done instead of what was first thought.
“We’re going to bring the four-inch line down,” he said. “We’re going to put a two-inch valve. We’re going to put a backflow preventer there.”
Wettstein made the motion to approve the bid from King Enterprises in the amount of $5,065, with funds to come from the county’s building fund and with the contingency that King Enterprises gets the proper licensing and permits to do the job. The commission voted unanimously to approve the bid.