Should the Eagle County Fairgrounds feature a 100-space RV park?
Improvement plans include repairs to the old livestock barn
- 6: Weekends this year the Eagle County Fairgrounds will be open to camping. All those weekends are event-related.
- 100: Recommended RV parking spots west and south of the Eagle River Center.
- 1,030: Recommended additions to seating at the rodeo arena.
- 200: Potential “club” seats over the rodeo arena bucking chutes.
This story has been corrected regarding the location of a proposed RV park at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. Other items have been clarified.
Events at the Eagle County Fairgrounds often bring a number of recreational vehicles driven by participants. There could be more, and more frequent camping at the fairgrounds in the future.
The Eagle County Board of Commissioners looked at a presentation Tuesday about the future of the fairgrounds. That process started in 2022 with creating a new master plan for the facility. That plan contains a number of recommendations, including creating a proper RV park and a host of improvements to the rodeo arena and grandstands.
The camping recommendation includes a proposal for 100 RV sites, along with some tent camping, restrooms, and other amenities on a currently open site just south and west of the Eagle River Center and directly south of the current ballfields.
Jen Miller of the county’s Facilities Management department said camping facilities are the “most-requested improvement” at the fairgrounds.
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A concept image of the camping area is much like other commercial camping facilities, with RV sites fairly close together. That drew a question from Commissioner Matt Scherr.
“Do we want to have experience over revenue?” Scherr asked, noting that the current concept looks to put about as many RVs as possible on the site. “It looks like a barracks,” he added.
And Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney noted that people who would use the RV parking “are looking for a place to sleep” more than an experience.
“There are two different ways to think about camping,” McQueeney said.
The master plan also includes the idea of a large events center, but that seems unlikely at the moment.
In a hearing in October of 2022, architect Charlie Kolarik, one of the consultants, noted that the events center could be as large as 40,000 square feet, including areas for meeting rooms and offices. The problem, though, is cost. Similar facilities in other areas have cost between $23 and $31 million, with costs escalating all the time.
More likely, maintenance and repairs to the rodeo arena and other facilities are needed. A lot of the deferred maintenance is happening this year, including new gutters for the arena and repairs to the barn used by 4-H club members for their livestock projects.
Facilities department director Jesse Meryhew discussed other work coming to the fairgrounds this year.
The roof is being replaced on the old exhibit hall at the east end of the fairgrounds property, as well as replacing that building’s old gas-fired heaters with a heat pump for both heating and cooling. That work should be done by late July, just in time for the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo.
In the future, the arena could feature a covered warm-up area for riders, more covered seats and more seating in general. That extra seating could include “club” seats above the bucking chutes.
The changes could bring as many as 1,000 new, covered seats to the arena.
“There (are) a lot of exciting things going on,” Meryhew said. “Our goal is to be the best show …”
Commissioner Kathy Chandler-Henry quickly added, “In the country.”