Lottery funds help Routt County Fairgrounds move forward with improvements
Steamboat Springs — The Routt County Fairgrounds won big this week with the Colorado Lottery and never even bought a single ticket.
“We love GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado), so I always encourage people to keep buying lottery tickets,” said Jill Delay, fairgrounds manager and fair coordinator.
She is a huge fan, because the money raised from the sales has benefitted the Routt County Fairgrounds the past several years. In 2011, GOCO awarded the fairgrounds $200,000, which was used to improve the fairgrounds and included a new restroom and shower facility.
But the buck isn’t going to stop there.
On Thursday, the fairground was selected to receive a $350,000 grant, the largest possible, to help complete a number of improvements at the facility, located in Hayden. The grant is earmarked to upgrade electrical systems, improve drainage and pave the midway. The money will be used to improve ADA-accessibilty and pedestrian traffic patterns, build a pedestrian bridge and sand volleyball court and add nine full-service campsites for recreational vehicles.
“We have had several requests for car shows here, but the people who spend that kind of money on cars don’t want a gravel, muddy surface to park them,” Delay said. “These improvements will allow us to add a new demographic of events, including car and motorcycle shows — before this, we logistically didn’t have a place to hold those events.”
The improvements will also enhance the experience for vendors who come to the fair. Delay said it will also be nice for people who lease the exhibit hall for weddings, funerals and graduation parties, as they will no longer have to endure a muddy trek to get to the building.
“It’s going to make things a lot better for vendors in the midway,” Delay said. “Now, people can shop and see what is going on there without the mud puddles when it rains.”
The facility is also hoping to add nine full-service campsites for recreational vehicles just to the west of the exhibit hall, which will make the facility more accessible during the fair when short-term lodging is in high demand and provide a place for recreational and campers at other times of the year. Delay thinks the spots could be popular during the hunting season.
Many of these improvements should be completed before the 2017 Routt County Fair and Rodeo opens this summer.
The addition of a bridge between the fairgrounds and Dry Creek Park and the addition of a sand volleyball court will happen in 2018.
The pedestrian bridge will be built by students at the Babson Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center in Hayden. Soroco FFA students will also design and complete several large landscaping projects to improve the area around the Exhibit Hall. The plants for the project will be grown in the greenhouse at Soroco High School.
The fairgrounds application was reviewed by GOCO staff and a group of outside peer reviewers and ranked number one out of 62 applications statewide.
Delay believes part of the reason the fairgrounds scored well with the review board was youth involvement in the plans and the fact that the fairgrounds reached out to the community and made it a part of the proposal.
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