Routt County seeks grant to update fairgrounds rodeo arena |

Routt County seeks grant to update fairgrounds rodeo arena

This sheep ran out of the chute in an attempt to buck its rider at the Routt County Fair on Aug. 21. Routt County Fairgrounds is seeking to update its rodeo arena with the help of the T-Mobile Hometown Grants.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

Routt County officials have applied for the T-Mobile Hometown Grant to update the Routt County Fairgrounds rodeo arena. Commissioners cite improving the county’s long-term livability and resilience in their letter of support to demonstrate the need for the grant.

Specifically, the county looks to do a replacement project that involves demolition and removal of the existing rodeo pens and chutes and the installation of new equipment. The county has allotted $450,000 for the projected total budget. 

Commissioners noted that the condition of the arena railing has become hazardous to fair patrons, participants, and livestock. First built in the 1970s by volunteers using donated materials, the arena rails have undergone numerous welding repairs and repainting improvements. Yet, broken welds and pipe corrosion continue to be an issue.

“(The Routt County Fair) draws roughly 1,000 participants and as the main feature of the fair, the arena must be replaced to ensure safe usage for the years to come,” commissioners wrote in their letter of support.

As a part of the application, the county submitted a “shovel-ready” plan, as required by the Hometown Grants. The county details how the preliminary design of the arena replacement is complete and building permits will not be required. The county said this will not contribute to increased expense or delays.

The project will require the closure of a significant portion of the fairgrounds, so upgrades would need to take place after the 109th Routt County Fair in August, given that the fair is the largest hosted event.

The “shovel-ready” plan also noted that conservative estimates for completion of the project should be 12 months from product order date.

T-Mobile partnered with Main Street America and Smart Growth America for the Hometown Grant to select up to 100 towns each year to provide project funding up to $50,000. The deadline for 2023 projects is March 31. Recipients are notified of the status of the application 30-60 days after the end of each quarter.

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T-Mobile has committed $25 million dollars to small town projects across the country as a part of its five-year initiative. These $50,000 dollar grants support community development spanning technology, education, environment and health care.

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