, 2022-10-14 14:34:41,
The Eagle County Fairgrounds loses money every year. But are improvements worth the costs?
The Eagle County Board of Commissioners recently heard a presentation from Crossroads Consultants about a new master plan for the fairgrounds. No decisions have been made, but it’s an ambitious plan, with elements including expanding seating at the rodeo arena, relocating the county animal shelter and adding a 100-space RV park with other areas for tent camping.
There’s also a suggestion to build a new building of about 40,000 square feet with a concrete floor. The current Eagle River Center’s floor is mostly dirt.
Architect Charlie Kolarik noted that the proposed new facility would actually be closer to 70,000 square feet when breakout spaces, restrooms and other facilities are added.
The full plan also includes a second vehicle entryway to the fairgrounds from Grand Avenue in Eagle, something that would require a new bridge over the Eagle River.
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There would also be changes to the existing disc golf course and relocating the Mountain Recreation fields on the west end of the roughly 165-acre site — about a quarter of a square mile. The fields will eventually be relocated to a site reclaimed from an existing gravel mine, and could include two baseball/softball fields and a pair of multi-purpose fields.
The plan also addresses the need to take care of quite a bit of deferred maintenance at the facility, and envisions as many as five full-time employees.
All this work will be expensive.
Kolarik said events centers in other areas have cost between $23 million and $31 million. But, he added, “cost escalations have been through the roof.”
Expanding seating at the rodeo arena will add to that number, as well as creating a covered practice arena for riders and a possible RV park. New bridges are also expensive.
A draw for Eagle cycling?
County Manager Jeff Shroll noted that people coming from the Front Range may want to stop and camp near Eagle and its cycling trails instead of driving west another two-plus hours to Fruita. The park could be a source of at least some revenue.
Kolarik said there are a number of options to pay for…
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