Saturday, May 25, 2013
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The Polk County Fairgrounds Foundation has begun raising money to purchase 16 acres of farmland.
September 11, 2012
RICKREALL -- The Polk County Fairgrounds & Event Center has a plan for growth. Now a piece of that plan is being set into motion.
The Polk County Fairgrounds Foundation has begun raising money to purchase 16 acres of farmland adjacent to the fairgrounds for overflow parking and future expansion.
The goal is to raise about $120,000 and the foundation is well on its way to meeting that goal.
"We have almost half of it raised already," said Norbert Hartmann, the foundation's fundraising chairman. "We've had some very generous people who are contributing to that."
Hartmann said the foundation is trying to appeal to a wider pool of possible donors to help raise the remaining amount.
Hartmann said the goal is to have the money raised in less than a year. The land sale offer is tiered, he said, meaning the purchase price will go up with each passing year. Hartmann and the foundation wants to avoid paying a higher price by meeting its goal in less than a year.
Commissioner Craig Pope, who was the lead commissioner on the project, said the county has been negotiating with the landowner for about six months. An agreeable offer supported by all three commissioners was established in late August. All funds used for the purchase would come from fundraising -- not from county funds, Pope noted.
The land purchase is part of a fairgrounds master plan that would redesign the site layout, add buildings and expand the facility.
The Polk County Fair Board presented its preliminary site master plan during the 2012 Polk County Fair Aug. 9-12 and now is looking for public comment on the plans.
"It gives them (the fair board) the opportunity to grow the facility the way the people in the county want it to grow," Hartmann said of the potential purchase. "I'm excited about it because it is something that's needed to be done for a long time."
The fair board will hold an open house Thursday where people can see the plans and offer comments or suggest changes.
"There is no immediate plans to move any fairgrounds operations into that (the sale) area," Pope said, noting parking is the only pressing concern at this time. "The farmer has generously allowed the fair to use a few acres for overflow parking after harvest, but sometimes the harvest time and the fair's needs don't match."
For more information about fundraising for the land purchase or to donate: Norbert Hartmann, 971-240-8030.
Your Opinion Matters
* The Polk County Fair Board will hold an open house on its visioning plan on Thursday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Arts & Crafts Building at the Polk County Fairgrounds & Event Center, 520 S. Pacific Highway (99W), Rickreall. Copies of the vision plan from the architect will be available at the open house and all input is appreciated as the planning process moves forward. For more information: 503-623-3048.