HARRISBURG, Pa. — Note: The video is from April 29.
Members of the Pennsylvania House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on Thursday announced that the Wolf administration agreed in an email to re-open the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex.
The email arrived Tuesday, minutes before the start of a press conference convened by committee members Reps. Dave Zimmerman (R-Lancaster), Dan Moul (R-Adams), Clint Owlett (R- Bradford/Potter/Tioga) and John Hershey (R-Franklin/Juniata/Mifflin) to discuss the status of the 2021 Keystone International Livestock Exposition, which is set for Oct. 1 at the Farm Show Complex.
The issue has been at the forefront recently as the complex is housing $50 million of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, even though it is not a suitable location, the committee members said in a press release.
That storage has prevented outside events from being held there, leading to a loss in needed economic activity in the Harrisburg area, the committee members said.
“What we don’t have is a time or how the re-opening process will move forward,” Zimmerman said. “We are here today asking for it to be opened in time for the All-American Dairy Show on Sept. 18 and the KILE show Oct. 1.”
Committee chairman Moul, who read the email at the podium, was asked when a decision date was due from the administration and how much of the building needs to be re-opened for these shows and where the state would move its stockpile of PPE.
“There was no official date for a decision,” Moul said. “This caught me 100% totally off guard, and it came, literally five minutes before I came to the podium. And it says it will take a month to clear it out of all the PPE.”
Zimmerman said the size of the dairy and KILE shows and the number of animals would require the entire building to be opened, at least most of it.
“A week ago, at another committee hearing what we were told by the administration made it seem like having the building cleared of PPE anytime soon was a superhuman task,” Moul said. “But if they now say they can somehow magically do it, that is good and welcome news. We need to work with the administration to get this done so the kids can show their animals.”