With last week’s bombings in Paris and the Syrian refugee controversy on many minds, the recent appearance of dozens of housing trailers at the Bartholomew County Fairgrounds has sparked much speculation.

Local residents have suggested on social media that the units are Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers or housing units for refugees.

Wrong, said Larry Fisher, president of the 4-H fair board.

The trailers — which had long been used for housing, classrooms and other purposes at nearby Camp Atterbury near Edinburgh — are temporarily being stored at the fairgrounds for refurbishment, Fisher said.

Story continues below gallery

Space on the north-central part of the fairgrounds was rented after the mobile housing units were sold off as surplus property, Fisher said.

After they are made ready for civilian residential use, the trailers will be sold on homenation.com, company representative Paul Domino said. The units are expected to be transported to communities throughout the nation after each is refurbished, he said.

Those trailers were used extensively when Camp Atterbury mobilized more than 195,000 military personnel from 2001 to 2013. However, most of the mobilization efforts were moved to other government facilities following the end of the military’s conventional involvement in the Iraq War.

All state agencies were asked this week by Gov. Mike Pence to suspend resettlement of additional Syrian refugees following last Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris.

Pence said that policy will remain in effect until the state of Indiana receives assurances from the federal government that proper security measures are in place.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.