Fairground pavilion is on a fast track | VailDaily.com

Fairground pavilion is on a fast track

Kathy Heicher

EAGLE ” Not only is the $1.9 million livestock pavilion for the Eagle County Fairgrounds a go ” it’s on the fast track.

Earlier this month, $140,785 worth of architectural work was approved for the 24,000-square-foot, multi-use event center.

The building, which would be capable of seating as many as 2,000 people, has strong support from the Eagle County Fair Board, the Eagle Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the equestrian community.

The building could be used as shelter for local 4-Hers to raise livestock, trade shows and special events, among other activities.

Work on the land is scheduled to start March 14 and the construction of the pavilion, May 2. It is expected to be finished by July 30, in time for this summer’s fair.

The project has been a point of contention among Eagle County’s commissioners. At the county budget hearing in December, Commissioner Arn Menconi suggested setting aside $500,000 to start planning the facility, arguing that more information and input was needed before progressing.

He wanted to know who would manage the facility and said the pavilion could be a drain on county spending. Menconi said he wanted to spend money on other projects, including the Gypsum Recreation Center, expansion of the Golden Eagle Senior Center, purchase of open space at Edwards, and financial support for a new fire station in West Vail.

Commissioners Tom Stone and Michael Gallagher said the fairground’s facilities have to be upgraded. But it is possible the spending decision could be changed.

Commissioner Peter Runyon, elected in November, replaced Gallagher today. Runyon has said he is not opposed to the pavilion, or to spending the money in 2005, but he is somewhat bothered by the building’s industrial design and the accelerated schedule.

In fact, Stone, though he voted for this year’s spending, also said he’s concerned about the aggressive construction schedule. He has asked the county’s legal advisors to draw up a flexible plan.

“We need a little more public process for the design,” Stone said.

To date, the public discussion of the project has mostly taken place with the Eagle County Fair Board.

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