- Fairbury News staff
Fair, racing office demolished
The old offices at the Fairbury fairgrounds and speedway were demolished Wednesday evening to make way for a new office complex.
“We’ve been working on plans since last October so definitely a long time in the making here,” said Fairbury Speedway owner and promoter Matt Curl.
According to Curl, the new building will provide a better space to do business in as the speedway looks to do great things in the future. Curl acknowledges it is emotional for many to see something like the building be demolished. He has his own memories of his time on the grounds as a kid.
“We are putting a lot of that history back into the facility,” Curl explained. “We are going to keep the block building across the road there so we are keeping that nostalgia-type feeling.”
The new complex should be operational by next April. All of the businesses doing the project are local, keeping the money in Fairbury and the surrounding communities. The building will include a ticket office, media center, business offices and first aid center with a heated garage and storage. Maintenance and hospitality sections will be featured along with a full kitchen and private quarters.
A special room will even show the past, present and future of the Fairbury Speedway.
“To be able to break ground today is definitely rewarding and exciting,” Curl admits.
Several onlookers witnessed history in the making Wednesday evening as the old building went down. A few even grabbed a white cement block as a keepsake. Thadd Walter had a special connection to the green section of the old fair building.
“Back in the day, I built that with Warren Fehr and Darin Bazzell, back when we were in college,” he recalled. “It was just an add-on by my dad’s company.”
Walter estimates the green addition was built in the early 1990s but those at the fairgrounds Wednesday evening were unsure exactly when the original white building was constructed. Letters carved on the ground nearby said, “built by J. Ray Fairbury, ILL.”
Molly Walter, Thadd’s wife, recalls raising her kids near the fair since they live on Fifth Street.
“We walk by here almost every night,” she said.
The racing season will continue with temporary offices for now as work continues on the new facility.
“It’s going to be really impressive when it’s all done,” added Curl.