The Jefferson County Fair Board is in the process of developing a master plan to guide 10 years of upgrades at the fairgrounds and Recreation Park just south of Boulder.
Terry Minow, who has served on the board since its inception in 1983, said previous updates have been smaller projects and relied on volunteer labor. The fairgrounds came to be after a square dance group cleaned up a red barn and fixed it up for dancing. Minow said it has expanded since then, but the volunteer effort is still the same.
With big ideas and more expensive projects needed, the board is asking the community to help prioritize how to move forward. The public is invited to an event on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 6:30 p.m. in the Volunteer Hall at the fairgrounds to go over a list of proposed ideas, provide feedback and present their own.
Minow said proposed ideas include improving the playground, building a walking trail around the fairgrounds, landscaping, building maintenance and improving parking.
“People will be able to ... say what they think is the most important project for us to take on first,” she said. “And space for their own ideas. The fair board knows there’s a lot of great ideas out there.”
“After the governor signed a bill to close the Montana Developmental Center in 2015 and the facility has since downsized its staff and patient numbers, the fairgrounds were identified as a way to encourage economic development in Boulder, Minow said.
“The whole community is working hard to see how we will make up for the loss of those jobs and make it continue to be a great place to live and work,” she said. “The fairgrounds have been identified as really key to economic development."
In addition to the county fair held each summer, the fairgrounds host weddings, workshops and club meetings, and provide an emergency shelter in case of a natural disaster.
County commissioners allocate a certain portion of property taxes to the fair board each year. Any maintenance projects stay within an annual budget, and Minow said available funds will be factored into the 10-year plan.
People interested in providing feedback can also take an online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JeffCoFairC9S682M.