Pavilion talk goes on and on |

Pavilion talk goes on and on

Kathy Heicher

EAGLE – The Eagle County Board of Commissioners still aren’t sure of where it’s headed with the “livestock pavilion” proposed for the Eagle County Fairgrounds. They’re still talking about the project and the commissioners most recent discussion focused on whether the greater need might be for a new exhibition hall, rather than a $2 million livestock pavilion.Sticking to the philosophy he has voiced for the past couple of months, Commissioner Arn Menconi called for better definition of the use, design, and function of a new facility. He said he was concerned the livestock pavilion, as proposed, would largely serve as an indoor, riding arena for a limited number of local equestrians.”How many times would it be used … how many barrel racers are there in this community?” Menconi asked. “I’m not in favor of a $2 million riding arena and livestock barn.” The livestock pavilion was initially proposed as an alternative to the recently destroyed red barn that was used year-around by some 4-H kids for raising livestock. County Commissioner Peter Runyon said an inquiry indicated about 10, town-dwelling 4-Hers might use the new pavilion. Most of the other 4-Hers with livestock projects live on ranches and acreage where they can raise their animals, he said. “For the county to spend $2 million for 10 kids is goofy,” said Runyon, suggesting less expensive ways could be found to house 4-H animals. But, Runyon said, the livestock pavilion would make the annual Fair and Rodeo a better event.Runyon suggested there was a greater need for an upgraded exhibition hall. That current hall, built in the mid-1960s, is used heavily, not only for 4-H functions, but also for wedding receptions and dances.”We’re not going to do something grandiose,” Runyon said. “We need to make sure what we do is the best for our (agricultural) heritage and needs.”County Commissioner Tom Stone, who has been a strong supporter of the livestock pavilion, did not attend the discussion. County Administrator Jack Ingstad said the consultant the county is working with had indicated the initial cost of the building had been overestimated by about $500,000. However, county officials also learned that the cost of improving a necessary water line to serve the pavilion would run about $480,000. That still brings the cost of the building somewhere near $2 million.Runyon said he was planning a visit to a similar livestock pavilion in Larimer County.Vail, Colorado

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