Input sought for fairgrounds’ future | CraigDailyPress.com
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Input sought for fairgrounds’ future

Amy Hamilton

Envisioning a new fairground facility should be a community affair, said Sue Graler, the planning director for Moffat County.

That’s why she’s encouraging public participation for the upcoming fairground master plan meeting.

According to a few separate scenarios construed by consultants of Bullock & Smith out of Knoxville, Tenn., the future of the fairgrounds is up for debate.



Fees for the master planning process were paid through a grant and county funds. An energy impact grant covered $20,000 of the $45,000 price tag.

Balancing the wants of the community and providing enough attractions to bring in visitor revenue “so the facility can earn money,” is one goal of the plan, Graler said.



“We need to plan now for what the community would like to see in the future,” she said.

Some components in the three plans for the fairgrounds include a multi-purpose center, an indoor arena, and improved parking and traffic flow.

“At one point in time, every community had places like fairgrounds to gather,” said consultant Dave Forkner, commenting on the decline of public centers.

Yet, bringing back attractive meeting places, he said, may bring a host of visitors along with the community.

“What we’re finding is that fairgrounds are becoming more of a year-round event center,” he said.

Concerts, rodeos, room for RV parking and opportunities to host trade shows can increase opportunities to pull in visitors. The relative proximity to Steamboat Springs and Wyoming makes Craig a well-positioned area to sport an updated fairground, he added.

Also, the town’s abundance of hotel rooms and restaurants create the needed base to support an influx of visitors, Forkner noted.

“I think what we’ve heard from the community so far is that they felt the need to have a general assembly building, more horse barns and RV parking,” he said.

Ultimately plans are to be presented to county commissioners for approval.

But change won’t happen instantaneously. The nature of master planning is to project goals for five to 10 years into the future, Graler said.

And funding for the new look of the fairgrounds depends on which scenario is chosen.

“There are a lot of (monetary) things going on right now and people want to know how much this is going to cost,” she said.

Those figures won’t be known until the planning process becomes more decisive.

“The key is, it’s the county’s intention to do this over the extent of 10 years,” Graler added. “People need to understand that this is going to take some time.”

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 and by email at ahatten@craigdailypress.com.


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