Fairgrounds Master Plan Maps Out Road to Future
KREX News Room
MESA COUNTY, Colo. Mesa County Commissioners approved a master plan for the future of the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
Mesa County Fairground officials have been envisioning the future of their operation for years.
Jo Carole Haxel, manager at the fairgrounds, said, "There are key characteristics of a good master plan, and one is that it's a bold vision. It's like the road map that can take you to the top of the mountain."
They plan to expand the equestrian and livestock areas, plus the BMX facility. The boldest move however, would be the creation of an indoor arena.
"If we had a facility like that it would bring lots of new income to the community, in terms of people coming in from out of town to come to events," Haxel said.
Supporters of the plan believe the fairgrounds could be a regional hub and the center for Western Slope events.
Jon Maraschin, the executive director at the Business Incubator Center, said, "Hopefully it really keeps us on the map, and makes Western Colorado the place that people come to where they can go get wine, go do their 4H, go see a concert, walk downtown. All those pieces kind of come together. "
Community leaders, students and neighbors of the fairground came to support the plan.
Hope Pfalzgraff, a 4-H member, said, "We serve over 600 youth of Mesa County, but if we had more space to house more projects, particularly in the livestock arena, we'd be able to impact even more."
However, Commissioner Janet Rowland voted no, saying she could not fully support the master plan.
Maraschin expressed some worry also and said, "The piece about this that scares me most is, if you build it will they come?"
"The debate this morning you heard was related mostly to whether it would break even," Haxel said.
"But when you start looking more globally at the sales tax dollars, the lodging dollars all the money coming in here, you know, the average event in Mesa County brings about $500,000 in revenues," said Maraschin.
Fairground officials say the beauty about their master plan is that it's flexible and allows for changes down the road.
Some funds from the Mesa County budget are allocated to the fairgrounds. Once the new commissioners come in to play, fairground officials will have a better idea of what improvements will be made first.