Jackson County Fairgrounds Plans to Lease Land

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, September 26 2012 at 6:36 PM, Updated: Wed, September 26 2012 at 7:15 PM

Richard Anderson says a 7-8 year project aimed at making the Expo's north ponds accessible for wheelchairs, has been delayed. It happened after he says he received a cease-and-desist letter from the Jackson County Fairground's Board.

"It was a surprise to us to begin with, but we want to work this out with the fair board and the powers that be that want to do something out there," said Anderson.

The fairground's new plan? To make more money by leasing out part of the roughly 180-acres of undeveloped land at the Expo.

"We of course are very sensitive to all the time and effort by the disabilities folks," began Dave Koellermeier, the Jackson County Fairground's Manager.

"We want to fully respect that but times do change [...] We really need to be evaluating and looking at all the potential income opportunities we have," said Koellermeier.

Richard Anderson said the community has donated roughly half a million dollars for the ponds. So far sewers, a water line and a 1400 foot wheelchair accessible path have already been put in.

But Koellermeier said with this year's fair not meeting expectations if they don't act to generate more income...

"We're really faced to make up shortfalls with ticket price increases and all those things that are clearly not very popular with the public," said Koellermeier.

Meantime, both Anderson and Koellermeier hope the Disabilities Recreation Project Board and the Fair Foard can come to an agreement.

"Let's be certain we're on the same page, same plan," said Koellermeier.

"It could be a win-win for everybody if we're able to stay out there in some capacity and build access for handicap and seniors. That's our goal is to give them access to nature," Anderson said.

The meeting between the two boards to discuss the issue will be on October 15th.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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