City officials held a special meeting  Aug. 26 to decide the fate of two structures recently erected at the fairgrounds.

City officials held a special meeting  Aug. 26 to decide the fate of two structures recently erected at the fairgrounds.
 “We are here today to make a decision on something that has been done in violation of laws of the state of Missouri and our own wishes,” Mayor Chuck Chorpening said, reading from a prepared statement. “In our city park we have two permanent structures placed or being placed there without authorization.”
At issue is the Laurie 5-O Crime Watch booth, previously a trailer-mounted structure and a part of the Laurie Hillbilly Fair for years. Another new building, which is being constructed by KT Guttering and will be used to promote a private business, is not temporary.
Existing cook shacks, most of which are operated by church organizations during the Hillbilly Fair, are permanent structures in compliance with Laurie regulations, according to officials.
Can we allow a structure to be placed in the park without input from the city, and can we allow it without any regulations, and how many others with uses exactly like it will be allowed, Chorpening said.
In recent weeks crime watch members removed the wheels from the booth and built a foundation on the ground in preparation for this year’s fair, which begins Sept. 12.
KT Guttering, a west side business, is building its structure just south of the log cabin where Laurie Parks and Events coordinator Susann Huff now makes her office.
Huff took full responsibility. “It was a mistake,” Huff said. “I felt it was going to be a good thing for the park.”
Laurie 5-O Crime Watch president Larry Magill spoke up, saying he thought the previous administration had authorized the contract allowing conversion of the trailer to a permanent structure.
Former mayor Rick Purdon said the authorization to build the permanent structure at the park was never brought before the board. Chorpening pointed out that the contract did not have either mayor’s signature.
Chorpening asked counsel if Laurie could allow the two buildings in question in the park, legally.
“It’s not exactly illegal,” said Laurie attorney Kate Clever, “perhaps they should be considered temporary.”
Finally, Chorpening asked for a motion.
“I would ask for a motion to allow the two structures in question to be allowed through the fair, with the proviso that they may have to be removed by the board at a later date,” said Chorpening.
The motion was approved 4-0.
Chorpening said after the Hillbilly Fair is over, the city will adopt a master plan to address this issue in the future.
 Gary W. Young is the GM-editor of the WestSide Star. Contact him at