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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | The fairgrounds plan is fair proposal, vision
The Fairgrounds in Langley is a wonderful community-owned property with a rich history and great potential. For generations we have enjoyed the fair every year, but it is not immune from the national trend of local fairs struggling to maintain too many aging structures, rising utility and insurance costs and not enough income to keep the property viable and adequately maintained for the annual event.
Last week a strategic plan for the fairgrounds was presented. It described a flexible plan for building on the strengths of the property and our community to create a sustainable program over the long term. What I liked about it most was that it isn’t an all or nothing plan. It has built-in steps so it can be adjusted and the community stays involved as decisions are made.
For instance, if the revenue projections fall short, course corrections can be made along the way. Each phase can be evaluated before moving on to the next. The idea is to take measured, but meaningful steps to move toward financial independence while promoting local food, local arts and local artisans.
The vision is for the property to become a year-round events center capable of hosting a variety of uses at one time, while still supporting the needs of the annual fair. This is a worthy goal, and we will need to take careful consideration along the way to make sure it is successful. With a phased approach as described, public input is maximized, financial risk and the use of tax dollars are minimized, and the community is able to utilize this amazing resource while enhancing local economic development.
This is an exciting opportunity for our community and I hope you will add your voice to the conversation. The strategic plan materials are available through this link: http://iscoedc.com/?page_id=786
HELEN PRICE JOHNSON
Island County Commissioner