FUTURE OF FAIRGROUNDS
March 12, 2008
Lane Events Center
Meeting Room 1
Stewart presided with Commissioners Bill Dwyer, Bill Fleenor, Bobby Green, Sr.,
and Peter Sorenson present. Recording
Secretary Melissa Zimmer was also present.
they had polled people at the fair asking their opinions and they have had three
focus groups that were asked questions about the fairgrounds.
He wanted the publicís thoughts on the fairgrounds and what the Board
should be doing in the future.
they would be better off looking at the current facility, fixing it up and
involving the public in the future for the current Lane County Fairgrounds.
Fleenor said as
they deliberate on the future of the facility, they need to think in terms of a
100 year program. He said they have to look at the bigger picture and what they
want to leave for their children into the future.
Dwyer said if they
do anything, it has to be on a dual track.
He added that they have to provide certainty into the future to ensure
they have a stable environment. He
was willing to look at the other property and he was open to change.
Green said it is
the publicís facility and he wanted to know what the public wanted and how
they want to work to make it happen.
Stewart said he was
committed in the long run to have the fairgrounds. He said it is important for Lane County and for agriculture
and the activities that take place. He
noted there are only four weekends a year when there is nothing taking place at
the facility. He said it is
important to have this opportunity. He
said the cost of operations is a concern. He
said they donít have the physical ability to maintain the buildings and to
upgrade them because any extra money they have is spent on the operation of the
facility. He said if they are going
to do something different, they have to look at how they are going to pay for
it. He said if they donít keep up
with the times and offer what the citizens need; they wonít be able to stay in
Bill Seider, Pivot
Architecture, indicated the existing site is 55 acres and the total building
area is 352,000 square feet. He
said the costs for improvements that are basic with no square footage added
would be about $10.5 million. He added for planning purposes they allowed an
additional $3 million for permits and fees.
He said to keep what is currently located at the fair would cost about
$13.5 million to repair. He said in
moving to another site, they were asked what the cost would be to replace the
current buildings on the Golden Gardens site.
He said to replace the buildings with similar square footage, with the
museum and Extension Service, there is a total of 380,000 square feet. He noted
in todayís costs, it would be about $145 million. He said they looked at remodeling the livestock building to
use all year long. He added to
expand the livestock building and to create more meeting rooms or a conference
center and replacing the expo building would be about $65 million.
He said if they wanted to take the 100 acre site at Golden Gardens and
add athletic events, RV parking or an amphitheater, the costs would be between
$175 to $260 million.
that they have a task force group looking at locating the fair to another site.
He said the city has a two year option for Golden Gardens and it is not
costing the County any money. He
said if that is a viable site, they would be able to purchase it for the same
price the city paid for it. He
indicated that they held four focus groups including vendors from the site.
He learned from the groups that there is a high awareness of the services
of activities that take place. He
said of the people who participated, they believed the fairgrounds are important
and the Board needs to continue to operate the fairgrounds.
He said they were interested in the outcome of the fairgrounds into the
Eugene, stated he represented the Grange. He
recalled that all granges were part of the Fair Advisory Organization.
He said it addresses farm and rural education and health care.
He noted it is a grass roots organization and they want to see the fair
maintain agriculture. He indicated that granges promote agriculture at the fair and
they want to see agriculture as the main purpose of the fair.
Eugene, stated he is a local writer. He suggested when they think about the
future of the fairgrounds to bring more localization to the economy in the
agricultural department. He said
with the rising price of food, they wonít be able to have a strong grass seed
economy and they should grow more food. He
said they currently spend $700 million on food in Lane County and 95% goes out
of state. He said they need to
strengthen agriculture and support farmers and establish markets.
He stated that a year round farmers market is needed.
He recommended keeping the fairgrounds where it is and over the next year
to have a growers market two days per week.
He said when they review the fairgrounds to think about the possibility
of a temporary year round farmerís market.
Junction City, commented that it was hard to make a recommendation on what to do
with the fairgrounds with the information they received tonight.
He wanted the task force to look into this.
He also wanted another Fair Board appointed. He said there needs to be communication between the
fairgrounds and the Board of Commissioners.
Eugene, commented that the fairgrounds is a coveted pot of gold.
He said it is valuable to everyone who uses it.
He said a small group of people canít decide on the fairgrounds.
He indicated that it is the peopleís property and they need a vote by
the people. He thought the voters
should be given options. He said if 75 percent of the people say move it, then they
should move it.
Eugene, said he lived by the fairgrounds. He
said it is a valuable asset. His
recommendation is to do nothing. He
said the County has a major budgetary crisis.
His suggested waiting a couple of years to see how the County is going to
finance the other programs. He said
they have to get the budget fixed before they start spending extra money at the
fairgrounds. He recommended just
doing enough maintenance so it doesnít fall down and wait until they figure
out the budget and then start on the fairgrounds.
recommended looking at Oregon lottery dollars.
He thought money could be spent to fix the fairgrounds with economic
development money. He said they
need everyone to work together.
Eugene, said he has attended events at the fairgrounds for over 20 years and he
sells items at the Holiday Market. He
said he is the Co-Chair of Saturday market.
He thought the goal for the commissioners would be to create a deeper
continuity with the businesses and combine sustainable practices that could
affect generations. He believed the
Lane County Fairgrounds was a good place to show off things.
He said if they move the fairgrounds, it could affect the childrenís
future because there will be an increase in traffic and they will need wetlands
mitigation. He said there could be
a loss of community resources designated for agricultural use.
He thought the funds would be wasted on an unnecessary project.
He thought they could combine the Extension Service with garden plots and
community agriculture. He thought
they could have small biowaste recovery for the gardens.
He thought they could have outdoor classrooms. He said he brought in two petitions to maintain and improve
the existing fairgrounds and greening the fairgrounds.
Eugene, said she owns Piccadilly Flea Market.
She asked why they want to move the fairgrounds as it is great where it
is. She said the Board should put
money into it so people will come and use it.
She said people will use less gas and people can come by bus and they
will reinvest their dollars downtown. She
thought the fairgrounds havenít been touched and she didnít think they
should spend any money, but keep it the way it is.
Eugene, commented that it is not just a fairgrounds but a park.
He said moving was not fiscally responsible.
He thought they could fix the sewage problems.
He said if they move away it would be further from the population and
there would be less attendance and it could cost more.
Eugene, said the Board needs to go for a big vision.
She said there is a huge sustainability community in Eugene and instead
of putting money in outlying areas; they should put money in the buildings.
She thought a green vision for Eugene is important.
She indicated that the Board needs to put energy into creativity and
vision. She said there are a lot of
green businesses. She thought they
could find financial solutions by believing they could create something that
would work and could be a model for the rest of the country.
She said they all want to put their energies in the current location.
Eugene, said there is a need for a year round livestock arena.
She said the U of O Equestrian Team tried to host a regional horse show
that would have brought between 10 and 15 different colleges to Lane County.
She had to cancel because she could not find a location to hold the meet.
She said if the fairgrounds could have had livestock in February, she
could have hosted the meet.
said she is the student coach for the U of O Equestrian Team.
She asked the Board to invest in year round use of the livestock arena.
Eugene, commented that spending $145 million looking at another location would
be a mistake. She thought they needed to be fiscally sensitive to what will
happen over the next five years. She
said they should keep the facility where it is.
She thought they could use some of the cash flow from the facility for
the maintenance if it was done correctly. She
didnít want the Board to go back to the public to ask for another bond because
people donít want to pay higher taxes. She
thought the Board should redirect some budget issues they have including the
Extension Service. She said that
funding will affect the fairgrounds. She
recommended putting Parole and Probation into the Sheriffís budget. She said they need to start marketing the fairgrounds.
Stewart stated the
Board is bound by laws on how they spend the money. He said they are in jeopardy of losing money and they have no
way to shift monies to come up with a different way to pay for the fairgrounds.
He said they started this process a year ago and they made a commitment
to the citizens that they would hold a meeting on the fairgrounds and they
didnít want to back away from it. He
said there is the possibility that if they do nothing, the facility would not be
in existence and that is a concern of the Board.
He said they have to come up with a plan to make the fairgrounds viable.
He said unless the tourism tax continues, they might see a decrease in
the tourism money. He believed the
Board was 100 percent committed to the budget and the general fund and to figure
out how they are going to protect the citizens and provide services they need.
Eugene, said they shouldnít waste more time at a new place.
She said they will lose people if they want to move.
Eugene, noted it costs $14 million to repair the buildings.
He asked if they could get a list of needs that could possibly be worked
on. He thought repairing the building could be less than that amount.
He didnít see any buildings falling down.
He stated that Warren Wong was the best Fair Manager that had ever been
at the fairgrounds. He didnít
think it was fiscally smart to move the fairgrounds. He didnít care how the
building looked, but it was more important with what is in the building.
Eugene, said it was important to have an ice skating rink in Eugene.
She stated the facility they presently have is an outstanding facility.
She asked the Board to continue with it.
Eugene, stated the Board doesnít have the money to keep the present facility
open. He thought by the time the
fairgrounds would be rebuilt, the cost will be about 200 million and the County
doesnít have it. He thought they should put in a farmers market as it keeps
the money local. He said people
need to learn to grow food. He said
they want their fairgrounds back.
Eugene, said she goes to the events at the fairgrounds and thinks it is
important to invest in the fairgrounds at the current location.
She didnít think the property should be changed or redeveloped.
She supported the urban and rural interaction with the fair and the
Extension Services and the farmers market, as that creates interaction between
the people in the city and farmers. She
said the fairgrounds activities bring money to the County.
She hoped there would be grass roots efforts to get a bond measure to
make the fairgrounds a wonderful place for the future.
She wanted it to be kept at its current location.
She said it was time to get new ideas about natural ways of dealing with
Eugene, stated that she produces three home and garden shows.
She said the fair staff are wonderful and work hard.
She said she spoke with exhibitors and they want it to stay in the
current location as it is convenient for attendees.
She suggested Phil Knight contributing to the fairgrounds, or they could
have advertisements on the pavilions. She also wanted the fairgrounds to stay
where it is located.
stated he managed the farmers market for the last decade.
He thought a long term farmers market was a good idea for the farming
community and people coming to the facility.
He thought it was good that the users were talking with one another.
He said there is money for economic development to invest in creativity
of funding options.
Elmira, represented the 4H Leaders Association.
He stated that the FFA Youth Fair fills up the fairgrounds.
He said he hadnít taken the position on whether he wants to see it
moved or not. He said they want to
ensure they have continued access for animal events on this site or another site
for equestrian events. He
said with the equestrian uses in the County, the fairgrounds could benefit if
they were kept open year round. He
commented the barns are the newest buildings at the facility and they canít
use them six months out of the year. He
asked the Board to consider the animal community.
Eugene, said he has been doing permaculture.
He thought harvesting water in the Amazon Creek was possible by taking
the rainwater off the roof. He said
it could be recycled and put into a large pond.
He said they could have aquaculture.
He said they could have community groups working on a community garden.
He said permaculture is low tech. He
thought the fairgrounds could use energy conservation with a ponding system and
tanks and they could compost manure. He
wanted to call it the Lane County Ecopark and then they could get volunteers.
the issues that were discussed related to agriculture and the farmers market,
the greening of the fairgrounds and sustainability. He noted a majority of the
people wanted to keep the current site.
Adjourned at 8:45