Changes could be coming to the Josephine Co. Fairgrounds

Grants Pass, Ore.- Changes may be coming to the Josephine County Fairgrounds as a major part of the property needs to be renovated and a new redevelopment agency in Grants Pass has just begun their 30 year commitment to the city.

Right now the county isn’t sure exactly what it wants to do with the old arena or the fairgrounds in general because it’s all part of a much larger conversation. A conversation, that Josephine County Commissioners say, is pressing for time.

“I don’t want to wait too long. The time is now,” Commissioner Simon Hare says.

And Commissioner Lily Morgan says, “We have the opportunity to be a partner in a way that utilizes all of the good that’s going on there and to keep things moving that way.”

Josephine County Comissioners have asked sites across the county to put together extensive plans for their future. One of the most important plans, coming from the fairgrounds.

“We need to look at the 5 year, 10 year, maybe even 20 year look at where do they want the fairgrounds to be,” Commissioner Dan DeYoung says.

The first priority- dealing with the property’s aging arena. For years the roof has been covered with plastic and that solution isn’t working any more. There may be money available to upgrade that crippling and unstable infrastructure.

The Grants Pass redevelopment agency is planning to invest in long term improvements in the area and the county wants some of those funds for the fairgrounds.

“If we can have a project to put into that redevelopment agency at its infancy, that’s what those funds can be used for,” Commissioner DeYoung says.

For now, the discussion has just begun but the Josephine County Commissioners and the Josephine County Fair Board are saying one thing- that the fairgrounds aren’t going anywhere.

According to Commissioner Dan DeYoung, “You can’t say, ‘Well lets write the fairgrounds’ off because I don’t believe that’s even in the conversation. What we do with the fairgrounds and how we tweak and how it fits into our community’s future, that’s up for grabs and that’s the conversations we need to have.”

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