Fairgrounds improvement meetings this week

In two open houses this week, Mesa County is offering residents a chance to come out and see what’s being proposed for future development at the fairgrounds on Orchard Mesa.

This is just the latest in a series of events held by the county to gauge residents’ desires. The two open houses — set for Tuesday from 4 to 7 p.m. and Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m., at the Fairgrounds Community Building, 2785 U.S. Highway 50 — are a chance for people to check out some of the specifics being built into a master plan for the fairgrounds.

Many of the proposed improvements were discussed as part of a recently completed, detailed business analysis. That analysis introduced a few development ideas, including expansion of the current equestrian and livestock facilities, construction of a new exposition hall and 5,000-seat events center and an expansion of the BMX race track.

Residents are being asked to let the county know which of the ideas from the analysis should be included or prioritized in the Fairgrounds Master Plan, a final draft of which is expected by the end of the month.

“The draft master plan will be more refined, and will have more detail than the business plan,” county spokeswoman Jessica Peterson said. That includes possible phasing of certain portions of the plan over time.

“As people comment on the draft plan, we might hear that they like a certain phase, or don’t like a certain phase. That kind of feedback will be used to help guide future decisions about actual construction projects that might be looked at in coming years,” Peterson said in an email.

The county calls the Fairgrounds Master Plan a “road map” for future development on the 90-acre property. Today, it hosts more than 400 events a year, as well as the annual Mesa County Fair and local 4-H and Little League programs.

County officials are preparing for big changes at the fairgrounds. They say many of the structures are outdated and aging, demand from user groups is increasing and a new intersection planned on U.S. 50 will change the way the property gets used in the future.

Residents are encouraged to attend either of the open houses, talk with county staff and fill out a survey with their opinions. Folks who can’t make it either Tuesday or Wednesday can give their feedback via telephone at 255-7107, or by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Organizers of the master planning process hope to wrap up in December and present their plans to county commissioners then.


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