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Country Fair Park priorities include paint, lighting

GRANDVIEW - A laundry list of needs for Grandview's Country Fair Park was whittled to a short to-do list last night to get the grounds here spruced up in time for the Yakima Valley Fair and Rodeo later this fall.

Grandview city, school, fair, business and port officials were on hand for a planning meeting held Wednesday night to wade through an assessment of Country Fair Park needs developed last month.

Grandview Mayor Norm Childress agreed with Judi Smasne of the Fair and Rodeo Board that the George Young Building needed sprucing up with a fresh coat of paint. Noting the building is the first thing fair-goers see, Childress said new paint and clean-up could enhance first impressions that many have of the fair.

Another priority discussed last night was looking into expanding electrical utilities so that lighting could be provided for the amphitheater stage and in the seating areas. The electrical upgrade would also allow for vendors to move their booths from the far end of the grounds closer to the entrance.

Another suggestion was to have the car show at the very end of the Country Fair Park grounds to encourage visitors to linger through the displays and vendor booths.

Smasne said she'd like to see concession stands and vendor booths more intermixed on the grounds. As it is now, she noted, those in the concession area can't see musical acts in the amphitheater and are away from vendor displays.

To get a better read on what the entities represented last night see as top priorities, Grandview's Parks and Recreation Department will coordinate an on-line survey so that all members of the respective organizations can weigh in on the discussion. Parks Director Mike Carpenter said he would work to have estimated costs listed with each project itemized in the survey.

High on the priority list last night was developing a coordinated ADA-compliant pathway with signage that connects the various fair and rodeo buildings. The Fair and Rodeo Board has submitted a grant application for the pathway proposal.

The rodeo grandstands were also a concern last night, with their dilapidated condition a possible liability hazard.

Beyond immediate priorities and concerns, Grandview City Administrator Scott Staples encouraged the group last night to develop what he called a "five-year plan" to address other items on the needs assessment list, such as researching ways the city and the fair board can better partner together.

Currently, the cash-strapped fair board is seeing property and liability insurance premiums reaching $8,000 each year for its fair grounds.

Grandview City Councilman Mike Bren said it all comes down to trust between the fair board and city government.

"There has been a lack of trust," Bren said. If the entities can get past that, he added, then much more progress will be made at Country Fair Park.

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