Mesa County will go for grants for BMX track, fairgrounds work

A BMX venue built to accommodate Olympic qualifying events, a covered arena for animal shows and 45 recreational vehicle sites are coming to the Mesa County Fairgrounds, the county hopes, with help from a $350,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

County commissioners approved a resolution Monday to direct county staff to apply for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant before a March 5 application deadline. Grant recipients will be announced in June.

The county is planning $2.5 million in work on the east end of the fairgrounds this July through December and another $2.5 million in construction next January through June on the west end of the fairgrounds at 2785 U.S. Highway 50. The grant is for both projects, but only about a fifth of the east end work is eligible for grant funding.

The west end project includes a BMX venue plus related infrastructure work and a new entrance road that will run alongside the venue. Grand Valley BMX and USA BMX have agreed to provide $606,330 for the BMX track, which will be large enough and have the right amenities to host Olympic-qualifying events. Just two tracks in North America currently host Olympic-qualifying BMX events: one in Chula Vista, Calif., and another in Rock Hill, S.C.

“The entire state of Colorado would benefit from the Grand Valley Olympic qualified BMX track drawing participants from around the world,” the county’s grant application reads.

The county is applying for the Great Outdoors Colorado grant and a $300,000 Daniels Fund grant, and will get $13,500 from the town of Palisade, city of Fruita, Colorado Mesa University and local organizations. The county will be on the hook for at least $1.9 million for remaining costs related to the west end project and nearly $2 million for the east end project, which is included in the county’s 2014 capital improvement budget.

The east end project includes construction of a second covered arena at the fairgrounds and 45 RV sites with water and electric hook-ups. Having two covered arenas instead of one will allow the fairgrounds to host more and larger events such as equestrian shows, according to Fairgrounds Manager Jo Carole Haxel, and the RV sites will provide appropriate accommodations for event participants with long trailers for horses and other animals. Haxel said the nearby KOA campgrounds are not made for animal camping and large rigs.

“We don’t rent to the vacationing public so we don’t compete (with KOA) for weekend travelers or vacationers,” Haxel said.


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