Eagle County starts plotting the future of its fairgrounds | VailDaily.com

Eagle County starts plotting the future of its fairgrounds

Development of a new master plan for the property is underway

This will be the first comprehensive master plan that the county has developed for the property since 2006.
Eagle County Fairgrounds/Courtesy Photo

On Tuesday, the Eagle County Board of Commissioners held a kickoff session for the development of a new master plan for the Eagle County Fairgrounds. Over the course of the next five months, a steering committee of county officials will be working closely with outside consultants to put forth a number of recommended plans for enhancing the fairgrounds.

This will be the first comprehensive master plan that the county has developed for the property since 2006, when most goals had to be set aside due to the recession that followed shortly after its completion. Facilities Manager Jan Miller said that the property is due for a refreshed plan, and the county is in a good position to undertake the changes.

“I feel like the time is right, and this project definitely supports the Board of County Commissioners strategic priorities for 2022-23, to encourage economic diversification,” Miller said.

The plan will be developed by design firm Populus in collaboration with Crossroads Consulting Services, which will conduct market assessments to determine the cost and feasibility of the plans. Populus previously worked with Eagle County on planning the Eagle River Center in 2013.

The 2013 Eagle River Center Master Plan, developed by Populus.
Eagle County/Courtesy Photo

The master plan will address a number of pre-identified priorities, such as the expansion of seating for spectators at the Eagle County Fair & Rodeo.

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​​”That’s been a request for years, and that will make the arena more appealing to other promoters that may want to hold different types of shows here,” Miller said.

The plan will also include a dedicated facility for 4-H exhibits away from livestock at the rodeo.

Another proposal includes improving camping infrastructure on the grounds and creating formalized camping spots for visitors to use. The county is also looking to conduct a road infrastructure impact analysis and create an emergency traffic egress plan. All of the infrastructure and facilities developed will be done with sustainable practices in mind to support the county’s climate action goals.

County Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry has been closely involved with the fairgrounds and the County Fair & Rodeo since childhood, and said that she looks forward to using the plan to bring the Eagle County Fairgrounds into the future.

“We’re excited to kick off the Master Plan process,” Chandler-Henry said. “The fairgrounds is such an amenity for the people of Eagle County — it’s host to the annual county fair and rodeo, and is used year-round by families, community organizations, and as an event space. We look forward to working with our community residents, Fair & Rodeo Advisory Council, 4-H families, and other partners to make this extraordinary space the best it can be moving forward.”

The 4-H Freedom Riders kicked off the Eagle County Fair & Rodeo last summer.
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Community input

Community ideas and input are going to play a substantial role in the development of the master plan. Starting in June, the county will be conducting both in-person and online forums for community members to share what they want to see included in the new master plan.

Ideas of any kind will be considered, and the community will be integral in determining what the future of the fairgrounds will look like. The new master plan is designed to be a collaborative process that is shaped by community uses and needs. Stakeholders will also be contacted for input in the coming months.

The first in-person community engagement session is scheduled to take place on June 8. More specific information about the forum and other modes of community input will be released later this month.

Once the master plan is developed, it will include a fully budgeted project timeline that is divided into phases, which can be executed at will in upcoming years. The prioritized wish list of projects and their execution will be based on community input, cost, market dynamics and the needs of the space.

The creation of this plan is the first step toward building the fairgrounds of the future. If there is something that you would like to see added or improved on the Eagle County Fairgrounds, bring your ideas to the community engagement sessions and they may become reality.

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