Fairgrounds: Right idea, wrong location for site
To the editor:
As I continue to think about the idea of a new Hancock County fairgrounds, I think about all the discussions.
Just about every reason why a new facility is needed makes sense; no room for expansion, untimely flooding along the river and parking issues top the list as reasons why this is needed. Just about everyone involved with this idea supports the idea because the new fairgrounds will be “multi-function.”
We must remember the county fair is once a year and runs something like two weeks at best. So “multi-function” or other uses will be the most important part to help pay for the facility.
In my opinion, the location east of town on U.S. 40 will be the reason why multi-function will fail. Multi-function needs to be close to all the things that will support other events that could be staged at the new facilities.
Our county desperately needs a large venue to stage entertainment. Being close to places to stay, places to eat and places that sell supplies would be very important.
Access to main roads or an interstate junction would help make it easy to get to.
The currently discussed location has none of these things. It has been said that this new fairgrounds would be an opportunity for great things, and it would be if located in the right place.
Going north on State Road 9 just north of Interstate 70 is a road named Opportunity Parkway. The northeast corner there has been for sale a long time. It’s close to motels, restaurants and one of the home stores that could provide just about anything needed for an event of any kind.
I hope we don’t make the mistake of picking the wrong location just because it’s available. The wrong location will not attract “multi-function,” which would burden the fairgrounds way beyond any way to pay for such a facility.