Routt County 4-H member Martha Anderson, who lives in Steamboat, brings her lamb toward the scale May 13 during the small livestock weigh-in at the Routt County Fairgrounds. Fair officials and fairgrounds users are looking into adding additional space for animals.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Routt County 4-H member Martha Anderson, who lives in Steamboat, brings her lamb toward the scale May 13 during the small livestock weigh-in at the Routt County Fairgrounds. Fair officials and fairgrounds users are looking into adding additional space for animals.

County OKs $30K for review of fairgrounds master plan

Mountain Architecture to examine master plan created in 1998

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Routt County granted a contract Tuesday worth as much as $30,000 for a review of the Routt County Fairgrounds master plan.

The Routt County Board of Commissioners approved the contract with Mountain Architecture to revise the original plan, which was created in 1998 and updated in 2000. Commissioners and fair officials are concerned that the information in the document could be outdated, Commissioner Doug Monger said Monday. The contract doesn't include any construction.

The county is paying Mountain Architecture with state lottery funds, Monger said. Routt is slated to receive $72,000 in lottery funds this year, Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said. The county typically uses that money for capital improvements at the fairgrounds.

Partly at issue are wings that the county considered adding to the Multipurpose Building, Monger said. They aren't part of the original master plan, Fair Manager Jill Delay said. But they've been proposed to house grandstands on either side.

"We're specifically questioning the building of the wings now based on the huge amount of costs," Monger said.

Fair officials and fairgrounds users are now more interested in additional space for animals rather than grandstands, he said. The new master plan could call for an additional building for animals and no Multipurpose Building wings, Monger said.

The master plan review came about partly because of a restroom.

The county had planned to add a bathroom building outside the Multipurpose Building, near an animal wash station that uses a septic system, Monger said. The addition was a natural step because the fairgrounds was scheduled to add a lift station to tie into Hayden's sewer system.

Under an annexation agreement, the fairgrounds was supposed to tie into the system by September 2010, Delay said. But the town has decided not to hold the county to that agreement, partly because it doesn't want to deal with the flow from the animal wash rack.

"The town of Hayden has already confirmed that the county will not be required to abandon the individual septic system," County Purchasing Director Tim Winter told commissioners Monday.

The review of the master plan could contain an additional restroom. The county and fair officials also see possibilities for revenue with that building, Monger said. They could add pay showers for hunters, for example. The county could seek a Great Outdoors Colorado grant if it opts for a free-standing restroom.

If the restroom is closer to the Exhibit Hall, it could use gravity to feed into the town's sewer system, which would eliminate the need for a lift station, Winter said.

Regardless, no construction is planned for this year, commissioners said.

"The problem is it needs additional money," Monger said. "We're not going to be building the project until we can figure out how to fund it. We're not going to be using any general fund dollars."

The county also is looking at revenue generators such as adding campsites to the fairgrounds, Monger said.

"There is interest if the town would allow us to do that to have some kind of overnight camping facilities," he said.

Mountain Architecture and county staff members will work together to determine the scope of the contract. Residents, 4-H members, Fair Board members and county officials will be invited to workshops to discuss what they want to see at the fairgrounds, Delay said.

The Fair Board discussed the plans last week, Delay said.

"A lot of good questions came up, especially at this time when we're re-evaluating everything we're doing and why, so it's a good time to step back and look at things before we move forward," Delay said.

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com

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