Volume 103, Number 12 - November 23, 2006
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Fairground moves forward with enhancements
Plans to upgrade the Sublette County Fairgrounds are one step closer to fruition. On November 21, the County Commissioners authorized Eric Peterson and the Fairground Steering Committee to let the contracted architectural firms draft plans for the size and scope of the future buildings.
Peterson, who works as the County Extension Agent and is involved with the 4-H club, brought plans before the commissioners for review. The Steering Committee acted as a liaison between community interest groups and the architects. It held two listening sessions in Pinedale and Big Piney to ask county residents what they would like to see in the new fairground.
Peterson said the community “really did think big” about the fairgrounds. He was surprised to find interest from people, like motor sports enthusiasts, who do not typically use the facility. The listening sessions yielded novel suggestions, such as a motor-cross course for motorbike and 4-wheel racing, and equestrian trails.
The county contracted GSG Architecture, a Cheyenne based firm, and their partner, Bullock and Smith, to work on plans for the fairgrounds. After touring the grounds and discussing the community’s wishes, Bullock and Smith drafted a set of rough plans. Peterson said the drafts constitute the firm’s analysis of the Steering Committee’s recommendations. They do not include details on the size of any buildings. Plans include creating a multipurpose events building, a new grandstand and arena and a multipurpose livestock building. The architecture firms also hope to organize the grounds to provide pleasant walkways for visitors.
Peterson identified the grounds sewer system as a “critical issue” that must be addressed before proceeding with any plans. The grounds are not connected to Marbleton’s sewage system, but use several leech fields. A leech field is a method of sewage treatment in which sewage is filtered and discharged into a section of a lot. The new buildings could lead to an increase in attendance, and will require more sewer capacity, Peterson claimed.
Peterson said the architecture firms could conduct a “feasibility study,” which would explore the demand and need for improving the facility. Commissioner Betty Fear, who serves on the Steering Committee said she thought the community had clearly expressed its desire for the improving the grounds, and did not think the feasibility study was necessary.
But commissioner-elect Joel Bousman questioned whether skipping a feasibility study was wise. Other groups interested in initiating public works might wish to omit that step, and cite the fairground project as precedent. Commissioner Bill Cramer replied that only projects with extremely similar circumstances could argue the fairgrounds offered any precedent.
Betty Fear added that the commissioners had never required a feasibility study before. The commissioners directed Peterson to ask the firms to conduct a “programmatic study,” which would give more precise details on the size and structure of new buildings.
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