Summit County presents $13 million plan to overhaul the fairgrounds | ParkRecord.com

Summit County presents $13 million plan to overhaul the fairgrounds

Summit County unveiled on Thursday the $13 million design the public selected for an overhaul of the Summit County Fairgrounds in Coalville.

The county hosted an open house to present the plan to the public before it is put before the County Council for approval. More than 75 people attended.

Gale Pace, who lives in Coalville and has advocated for keeping the fairgrounds there, said "everything is looking good."

"I'm thrilled with it. It's what needed to happen and it was a good purchase when they bought the new ground," Pace said.

The county purchased nearly 12 acres of land adjacent to the current fairgrounds in July after recognizing that the 18-acre site was no longer able to sustain the event. At the Summit County Fair in August, officials presented four plans crafted by Landmark Design from conversations between various community stakeholders, including Coalville leaders, North Summit Recreation District and North Summit School District. More than 300 people provided input.

The preferred design relocates the rodeo and warm-up arena to the new parcel, which will also include an overflow parking lot for contestants that will serve as a practice sports field when the fair is not being held. The carnival and vendors will be relocated to the space currently occupied by the rodeo and warm-up arenas.

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According to the design, the existing fairgrounds will feature permanent animal shelters, an outdoor amphitheater and pavilion, multi-purpose building, ball field, and a community park and splash pad.

Construction would be completed in four phases over the course of nearly 10 years, according to Julie Booth,the public information officer with Summit County. The first phase would produce the multi-purpose building, outdoor pavilions and amphitheater. The new rodeo arenas would not likely be built until the third phase.

The upgrades will be funded through the county's transient room tax, which currently has a reserve of approximately $6.5 million. The entire amount is not earmarked for the project because the transient room tax fund also pays for the county's historical department and other activities.

"Since we are funding this through the transient room tax, we would have to wait for those funds to build back up to complete the additional phases, and we don't know how long that could take. One or two years, we don't know," Booth said.

Travis English, Summit County Fair coordinator, said the feedback from the public has been "overwhelmingly positive."

"People like the look and feel and the flow of it," English said. "But we have definitely heard some concerns about the recreational component and opportunities for Coalville residents like maybe providing another softball field or another soccer field."

Coalville Mayor Trever Johnson said the preferred design is representative of what the public wanted, adding that he supports the idea.

"I like the effort they are making in getting input from the public," Johnson said. "The layout flows well. It's efficient and it will provide a lot of opportunities for recreation for anyone in the county.

"The vast majority of the feedback that I have heard has been positive," he said. "We've mainly heard suggestions, but overall this is a positive proposal."

Cade Willoughby, who lives in Coalville near the fairgrounds, said the new design has its advantages, including the relocation of the rodeo arena and the separation of the events that occur during the day versus at night. However, he questioned whether the design utilizes the entire space.

"I don't know that it is maximizing the space 100 percent, but I also don't know that there is a 100 percent way to do it," Willoughby said. "I see how it helps with the congestion of the evening stuff versus day stuff, but I don't know that that piece of land is being utilized to its maximum potential. Parking is a big deal, and there is never enough, and that's my problem here. I don't know what we are gaining in some situations."

A public hearing on the plan has been scheduled before the County Council on Oct. 26. Officials are anticipating beginning construction sometime in the spring.

For more information about the fairgrounds master plan, go to http://www.co.summit.ut.us/802/Summit-County-Fairgrounds-Master-Plan.

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