‘Veterans’ added to fairgrounds’ name

With a nod to history, the Mesa County commission has renamed the fairgrounds the Mesa County Fairgrounds at Veterans Memorial Park.

“It’s past due that we added ‘Veterans Memorial Park’ back to the fairgrounds,” commission chairman Steve Acquafresca said Monday as the board unanimously made the change official.

The change mollifies fairgrounds supporters who want to keep the fairgrounds name in the name of the facility while also paying homage to the veterans who bought and maintained the property as a veterans park until selling it to the county in 1967.

It was founded as a park to honor veterans from the intermountain area, including those from western Colorado and eastern Utah.

Veterans purchased the land for the park, said John Lucas, 89, a World War II veteran who was a member of the original board of the Intermountain Veterans Memorial Association.

The change to include the reference to veterans in the name is a welcome one, Lucas told the commission.

The name change sets the stage for the pay-as-you-go improvements to the fairgrounds, including moving the memorial to veterans now tucked behind the grandstand to a more visible location closer to U.S. Highway 50, Acquafresca said.

There, with suitable landscaping, the memorial — which was designed to represent an eternal flame — can be displayed in a manner that will better explain the history of the fairgrounds, Acquafresca said.


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If you go back and read the Fairgrounds Task Force report from about 1983 or so (the date escapes me now but it was post Black Sunday), you’ll find that as one of the recommendations.  In fact, I believe at one point the place was called Intermountain Veterans Memorial Events Center.  Nod to history indeed.

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