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CHEHALIS – An investment into arts and cultural programs in the city of Centralia, with Lewis County earmarking up to one-half million dollars in federal economic relief money for the continued renovation of the Fox Theater. Lewis County Commissioner Sean Swope says the Fox Theatre was “planning to open in 2020 and were shutdown and that evaporated all the funds that they had. Because of the (coronavirous related economic shutdowns) many of the citizens who had given generous donations, and to now ask our citizens to replenish that fund isn’t fair. I think that is hat ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) was intended to be used for.” Commissioners say that the funds are contingent on the non profit Fox Theater organization being eligible for the federal subsidies and on availability of funds from the overall $15.6 million that the county is receiving. _______________________________ A surprise at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds, causing an all hands on deck for staff. Fair Manager Connie Riker says, “Part of the area near the community events building have had to be dug up in order to do some extensive water repair to have some water available for the Spring Fair next weekend.” Lewis County Internal services Chief Steve Wohld says issues have surfaced with the fairgrounds’ 100-year old underground water network and, “We’re doing some work this week where we’ve been losing 35,000 gallons (of water).” A $3,000 water bill alerted the county to a what turned out to be a crack in a section of 33 thousand feet of waterline on the fairgrounds. Wohld added, “It’s going to cost us a lot of money, but if we let the cost scare us away we’ll never get anywhere, but if we focus on the mainlines and valve it off correctly…that’s how we were going to attack this when we learned there was some funding available.” A state capital construction budget allocation for water systems, and federal tax revenues in the form of American Rescue Plan economic subsidies which the Lewis County Commissioners earmarked Wednesday. The commissioners are considering as much as $1 million dollars for the fairgrounds project. Already the county has allocated money for a countywide water study.

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