The 177th Trumbull County Fair starts next week and people can expect some major improvements to the fairgrounds.

"This will definitely keep people coming in and out of the gates a lot safer, a lot easier," said Bud Rogers, a director of the Fair Board.

The gravel strips in the three main parking lots have all been paved using material that the Ohio Department of Transportation had leftover after approximately a dozen state highway projects in Trumbull and Portage counties.

Through State Senator Sandra O'Brien's grindings program, ODOT provided that material free of charge and the county processed it down as recycled asphalt.

"Many of our paving operations at the county require recycled asphalt material whether it is for our chip and seal type work, berm work, culvert installation," said County Engineer Randy Smith. "One of the byproducts as a result of processing the material is this finer material that you see out here in the parking lots today. The vast majority of the parking lots here at the fair this year have been upgraded with several inches, probably in excess of five thousand tons of material."

Improvements were also made to several other parts of the fairgrounds.

"We did the 4-H parking lots, we did several barns that were sinking in over the years, we raised them up so it drains the water off," Rogers said. "We did the 4-H horse area, we did the camping area, we did the main driveways for emergency vehicles, it would be on the southside of the race track by the grandstands."

These are major improvements the county and fair board believe will only enhance the Trumbull County Fair experience.

"I remember years out here pulling cars out until 1 or 2 in the morning and this will definitely be a big plus for us there," Rogers said. "This is great for traffic and the transportation in and out."

"In the event there will be rain this year, it's certainly going to make access to the parking areas much more favorable, the conditions much more favorable and hopefully it just makes the fair that much better," Smith said.

This also isn't the first time recycled asphalt has been used to make improvements.

"County and Township roads have been chipped and sealed with this material," Smith said. "Several township parking lots, parking facilities that have upgraded with this material. Roads in northern Trumbull County have been raised, some of the lower roads that are subject to flooding have been raised with this material. Although there has been a tremendous amount of work done out here, there's certainly being work done on county and township roads with this same material as well."

"I'm just so proud of Engineer Smith and what he's been able to do with this, it saves a lot of money and look at the good the public gets out of it," State Senator Sandra O'Brien said.

The only cost for the county was for trucking and labor. All of the work will be finished before the fair starts on Tuesday, July 11th.