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Livestock center grows

Don Rogers

The notion that a big new fairgrounds livestock pavilion will save ranches sounds like a stretch. But it’s nice to see county leaders figure out what it is they want, at last.For awhile there, it wasn’t clear. Replacement for the 4-H Red Barn, which firefighters burned down in a training exercise last fall? Or events center? Well, now it’s crystal clear: events center. And bigger than the one that the then-majority of county commissioners budgeted $1.9 million to build last fall. Besides, a local Boy Scout seems to have settled that barn problem with a timely and inexpensive Eagle project. Commissioner Peter Runyon somewhat surprisingly has thrown his support to a nearly $3 million structure that’s even larger than the metal building that he and Commissioner Arn Menconi tied up about as soon as their new majority took over in January.Menconi remains opposed. Commissioner Tom Stone has to be pleased that patience seems to be paying off with a project that will be nearly double what was discussed last fall.It is about time the fairgrounds got some attention outside the rodeo grandstands. Still, the commissioners must be mindful that merely building a big events center will not deliver that nirvana of “Western heritage” they seek. They’d better also be prepared to support the management and marketing required to make the project a true success. While here we’ll guffaw at the thought that an overdue fairgrounds improvement will somehow save ranch land, there is something to this tip of the hat to older ways. Among other things, it shows respect to a constituency that’s earned respect.We also like seeing Runyon exercise independence. That’s a healthy sign, frankly. Vail, Colorado


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