No longer a surprise
No tears necessary, 4-H kids who need a place at the fairgrounds to raise their animals have a place to do so even though the Red Barn is gone. The vintage barn that hosted many a prize animal over the years was burned for firefighting practice this past fall to make way for gravel mining.This seemed to jump-start the drive for a new livestock facility and events center at the fairgrounds, capped with a dramatic county commissioner session that sure livened up what typically is the drollest of droll meetings to approve the county’s $80 million budget. At least if you are not involved with the fair and rodeo, the $1.9 million budget item came as a bit of a surprise.But not to worry. We no doubt got carried away in this space with the surprise factor of this particular push, although the concept has been on the books and discussed off and on over the past couple of decades.The kids will indeed have a place at the fairgrounds to raise their prizes this year, and we’re assured that the leaders will proceed with all deliberate speed in the new year toward building the new livestock raising facility and events center that is seen with enthusiasm as an eventual money maker for the county, as well as a dandy image builder while keeping alive that ineffable quality of Western heritage.There are lots of details – and meetings – ahead for the general public to soak in, the job will be bid out, and the process done right. There is no rush, Commissioner Tom Stone assures us.Well, in that case, please proceed, do it right. With the Red Barn gone, the time does seem right for that permanent next step at the fairgrounds. There is a lot of economic potential to tap, a heritage to protect, and kids to encourage.And no one left to say they didn’t know this was on the boards. D.R. Vail, Colorado
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