Summit County Fair to stay in Coalville
Summit County officials announced on Thursday they will no longer be pursuing a different location for the Summit County Fair and instead purchased a 12-acre property adjacent to the current fairgrounds in Coalville.
Gale Pace, a Coalville resident, said he has "always wanted the fair to stay where it is now."
"I feel everything is in place and this will be the best place for the fair," Pace said in an email to The Park Record.
Summit County Manager Tom Fisher said the decision is in response to the public’s concerns about relocating the event outside of the county seat. The fair has been held in Coalville for more than 50 years. However, county leaders have been contemplating moving the event for several years saying there is limited space at the 14-acre site. They focused on a new location nearly a year ago.
In December, the county signed a $2.2 million purchase option for a 79-acre property, located between Judd’s Lane and Hoytsville Road. County leaders announced they wanted to develop the site for the new fairgrounds and create a large event center. Nearly 100 attended an open house on the issue.
"After we had the public open house in December, several folks voiced concerns about the Judd property and its proximity to homes, environmental concerns and concerns about the amount of money we were contemplating," Fisher said. "At that point, we thought it might be a good idea if the county looked at a couple of different options and different properties and the idea of expanding where we are at.
"The Council wanted to make sure they had turned over a lot of stones before they committed to spending that much money," Fisher said.
Fisher said as other properties were considered, County Council members decided to "to make another push" at seeing if we could get some adjacent property that would allow us to improve the current facilities for the fair."
"That made the Council back up and look at the options of buying adjacent property and working with local partners such as Coalville, North Summit School District and North Summit recreation, in order to build something that will serve the fair and the community more than perhaps a large event center would," Fisher said.
Expanding the fairgrounds to include the 12-acre property would nearly double the size of the existing site. The price for the property, which is privately owned by the Boswell Trust, is $600,645.
The purchase will eventually allow the county to cancel the $2.2 million option for the Judd property, Fisher said. The county has already spent approximately $50,000 on the option.
"We’ve talked to the Judds and they knew this was coming. If we go through with the purchase of this property we will still end up solving the problem we set out to solve and in the end we will have expended less dollars," Fisher said. "I think the Council feels they have listened very strongly and by going this direction they are showing that they are listening and have heard when people have said that they want the fair to stay in the North Summit area."
If the county had decided to move forward with the relocation, the 14-acre parcel that the fair is currently held on would have become the property of Coalville. Mayor Trever Johnson said he only began exploring the possibility of turning the property into a multi-use recreation site as a "Plan B option."
"I have been trying to keep it in Coalville and have had several meetings with, not only landowners but also the North Summit School District, to see if we couldn’t come to an agreement on keeping it somewhere in the city," Johnson said. "I think the county is listening to the people on the East Side and I think what they have now makes a lot of sense."
Johnson said it will be an "easy sell to the public" because it is what they have wanted all along.
"We are not building a monster that we can’t feed and maintain at the county level. We are being civically and fiscally responsible and I appreciate that," Johnson said. "I’m excited. If I got exactly what I wanted this is pretty close and pretty close to getting everything that Coalville, I think, would want as well."
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