CIRCLEVILLE — The Pickaway County Agricultural and Event Center public fundraising effort is nearing a new milestone.

Mike Schmidt, executive vice president and partner with Dublin-based Cramer & Associates Consultants, which is helping with the public fundraising efforts, said they’re approaching $4 million raised of the initial $5 million goal for phase 1 of the project.

“We had such tremendous support during the fair and the few months following it,” he said. “People have so much passion for it and now with people seeing its uses, we’re seeing a lot of folks who want to have their names associated with it that we believe it’s happening.”

Schmidt said events such as the recently held AG Day, where fourth and fifth grade students from all county schools were on site, have helped people’s perception.

“We still have a need for more money and that will be ongoing for the rest of the year,” Schmidt added. “We’ve got a number of very high tier prospects that want to do something specific. Many of those do their giving in the fourth quarter. We’re now letting things catch up.”

Schmidt said instead of donations coming from the heart, he’s seeing that organizations see that it makes sense to support the project from a business standpoint.

“As the shows, like the quarter horses, when those start to be booked people see the value of supporting the fundraising effort from a business standpoint,” he said. “Up to this point, a lot of our support has been from people who believe in it and with an altruistic purpose. I think it’s also going to make good business sense to have your name and brand out here in front of this many people and invest in here.”

Debbie Wiley, branch manager at Huntington National Bank in Circleville, said they contributed because of their local connections to the city and community.

“We all live in Circleville or near Circleville, and it’s awesome to see how far this has come for the community,” she said. “I have a daughter at Logan Elm and it’s exciting to have a place for events now. We see how things have changed throughout the year going on the tour. We’re proud and happy to be a part of it. It’s a night and day difference from what we had before.”

Bethany Reid, Health Care Logistics vice president of administration and marketing, said she wanted to contribute because of her history with 4-H and what it means for the kids.

“I grew up in 4-H and my parents grew up in 4-H, and I believe it’s part of paying it forward,” Reid commented. “Someone paid for the original fairgrounds and we knew it was in dire need of some love. It’s about giving back to the community and supporting it into the future.”

Keith and Elise Peters also contributed to the fundraiser recently. Between them, there’s more than 115 years of 4-H experience between their two families.

“Between me, my siblings, my kids, all my nieces and nephews and three of four of Elise’s kids, it’s 115 years,” Keith said. “We both felt very strongly about this because it’s tied to the history of the community and it’s tied to agriculture and our families. It makes it that much better.”

Elise Peters said Keith is a fifth-generation farmer.

“We understand how important agriculture is to the community and this event center is a great way to support the community,” she said. “We’re very excited about the facilities.”

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