Commissioner – Fairground talks could restart

(Photo/file)

By Ray Dyer

A plan to possibly build a new Canadian County fairgrounds just to the east of the Gary E. Miller Children’s Justice Center may be gaining momentum. 

Commissioner Phil Carson said Tuesday morning the idea for a new fairgrounds, an idea that was first proposed several years ago, has resurfaced and it may be time to consider finding a way to make it a reality.

Carson said the Canadian County Fair Board has been discussing the idea. With the rapid population growth in the county, Carson said having a larger and more modern fairgrounds probably makes sense.

“You look at the Yukon Chamber of Commerce banquet,” Carson said. “It’s going to be held at 44th and Lincoln in Oklahoma City because we don’t have a place here in the county that can hold it.”

Mustang and Yukon high school graduations are also held outside of Canadian County because of space limitations.

Carson said it might be time to consider a county sales tax that could build and fund a new fairgrounds. He said he would strongly oppose any attempt to tap into the .35 cent sales tax dedicated for the juvenile justice center for a fairgrounds project or any other project.

Carson said discussions were in the early stages and how such a move would impact the existing fairgrounds in El Reno had not received much attention.

The county owns a quarter section of land just to the east of the juvenile center on state Highway 66. Several years ago members of the fair board had talked about relocating the fairgrounds to that site. However, the need for a new county jail may have pushed the idea to the back burner. Now, with a new jail addition open and the project not requiring an investment from taxpayers, the fairgrounds idea may be the next public project presented on a county level. 

Carson said the timing may be right for a new fairgrounds. He said he would like to see a “place where programs for kids” could be offered to keep them busy, “the good kids as well as the bad kids,” Carson said.

“It would be wonderful if we had a facility like they have in Garfield County or down in Grady County at Chickasha,” Carson said. “Look at the events that take place at the state fairgrounds in Oklahoma City.”

Carson said Canadian County, with a new and modern fairgrounds and its proximity to the state’s largest city, could compete for events that may not be as large as those held at the state fairgrounds, but could provide a substantial “economic boost” to the county.

Carson said the county commissioners could oversee a new fairgrounds, working in conjunction with “various boards” in the area. 

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