Hayden backs fairground upgrades

— The town of Hayden endorsed future improvements to the Routt County Fairgrounds Thursday night.

Officials sought the board's approval of the 1998 Routt County Fairgrounds Master Plan before the Routt County Planning Commission votes to adopt the plan next month.

Terry Dougherty, administrative assistant with the Routt County Fair Board, said planning commissioners advised the Fair Board to go through the town of Hayden before the board appeared before the Planning Commission.

"The basic premise of this is that we're all communicating and we're all working together and that we're not going to duplicate our infrastructure needs," Dougherty said.

The town of Hayden recently approved its own master plan for some of the area adjacent to the fairgrounds.

Because both the county and town have plans for future development nearby, mutual grants for such projects as sewer and water line extensions might be possible, she said.

Town Board members agreed the improvements to the fairgrounds would greatly benefit Hayden.

When county planning commissioners look at the final master plan for the fairgrounds in February, they will only see a white area that denotes the town's plans for a future adjacent recreation area, Dougherty said.

The master plan for the fairgrounds, first released in 1998, used baseball fields to designate the town's proposed improvements to the area, but the plan received several modifications in 2001.

"This is the pretty big giant picture that ultimately would be nice to have, but it's sort of like the planning process that you're going through," she said.

Dougherty stressed the Fair Board's first priority is the timely construction of an indoor arena.

The Fair Board first considered the construction of an indoor arena at the fairgrounds seven or eight years ago, but reaching its construction date by August could prove to be difficult.

She said much of the funding exists to move ahead with construction, and that funding may not be available if construction is delayed.

"That isn't going to last much longer than this year if we don't get it done this year," she said.

Routt County 4-H members have raised $36,995 to date for the arena, and the Fair Board recently received word on a $30,000 challenge grant from the Gates Family Foundation, with the guarantee of another $30,000 should the remaining money for the building be raised.

"So the momentum is there," Dougherty said.

Hayden Town Manger Rob Straebel commended Dougherty, the Fair Board and 4-H members for their efforts at seeing an indoor arena become a reality.

"It's a grassroots project," he said. "It will be a tremendous asset, not only to the fairgrounds but to West Routt and Routt County."

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