County Fairgrounds

by jhwygirl

I think the county fairgrounds should be relocated and rebuilt with the historic buildings down by Fort Missoula and make that whole area a combination park and historic center and activity/expo center.

Fort Missoula is the biggest bestest asset the county has – and it speaks to what Missoula and Montana and the history of our nation. Incorporating the fairgrounds down there would be one of the smartest things that could happen for both the fairgrounds and the Fort.

Then that property should be sold to some housing trust where the underlying ground collects perpetual income from a mixed-use, predominately affordable housing development.

Hey! I can dream, can’t I?!

  1. elkamino


    You did miss a few good reasons to move the fairgrounds, like incredible monster truck noise in the middle of a residential neighborhood and the fact that it’s large footprint is the single greatest reason traffic’s so snarled at Malfunction Junction and beyond, but by all means moving the fairgrounds is long overdue.

    Besides, while fairs once provided Montanans with valuable culture and interaction when we were a more spread out and rural community today people are getting those needs met in other ways and I’m at a loss as to why tax dollars continue to float this revenue-losing behemoth.

    If we must continue funding fair infrastructure, sure Ft Missoula would be a much better location than the super-prime real estate upon which it currently resides. But I’d be fine just letting it become a private, commercial enterprise- or even just wither and die all together.

  2. drylander

    Moving the ice rinks would suck. Missoula has a huge hockey/ skating crowd of all levels and ages.
    It took a long time to scrape together the cash to have what they have now – not that it couldn’t be better somewhere else too… but that would be a significant expense.

    If we’re dreaming though….
    A top-notch two-rink facility with more seating for the Maulers games and better locker rooms for the players/skaters. A real parking lot, instead of the mud-pit. That would be cool.

  3. Ruthie

    If the fairgrounds were already at the Fort, I’d support keeping it there or expanding. J-Girl’s right; it seems a logical location, but to have to move it is too expensive. And,you know where the expense would land … on the backs of only one segment of our population …. property taxpayers ! Probably not the right time to do that.
    In the fairgrounds discussion, is the rink facility automatically attached to those plans for future fairs?
    I thought the Maulers rink could remain where it is, even if the Western Montana Fair were to move elsewhere. Anyone know?
    — Ruthlmm

  4. JC

    Crandall Arambula presented three alternatives for the Fair this week, if it were to remain in its present location. The following I think is one of the most stupid concepts I’ve heard about keeping the Fair where it is:

    …in each alternative, a street runs through it.

    A local street connecting Fairview on the west and Stephens Avenue on the east could be closed during fair time… “It’s not a high-volume street, but it would allow a little bit of fluidity” through the midtown region, he [Graf] said.

    Crandall Arambula was hired by Missoula County to plan for the fair site, but there’s a bigger area at play here.

    “We also need to look at it in connection with midtown and some of these major auto and pedestrian connections,” Graf said.

    According to a fundamental concept drawing, the connecting street would run through the current paddock, grandstand and beer garden. It would meet Stephens Avenue near the University of Montana’s College of Technology and to Fairview at Russell Street, near the current west gate of the fairgrounds.

    Fairview runs west across Brooks to Southgate Mall.

    “What we’re really looking at is how can we bridge the fair site with the mall,” he said. That might create an opportunity for a ‘commercial main street’ to stimulate economic activity in that part of town.</blockquote.

    Bridge the fair site with the mall. How utterly stupid is that.

    One would have thought that with the $30+ million that we spent to study and fix the Malfunction Junction mess would have looked at scenarios like this. Why would we let some two-bit consultants throw around ideas like this, which result in nothing more than piece-meal whittling away of the current Fair site?

    And it’s in all three alternatives! These dudes should be sent packing back to Portland. We’ve wasted enough money on their “expertise” to have floated the Fair for a few more years.

  5. Nick Domitrovich

    I agree w/ Elkamino on every point, but I also think Drylander has an important point. The icerink has become immensely popular, and I think that having recreational centers in the heart of a community is an important thing. I know that I dread spring/fall city league soccer because it’s at the Fort, but absolutely love summer league at Playfair. You either get to drive for 45 minutes to make a 6 PM game at the Fort, or have the option of riding your bike on some of the least bike friendly roads in town. On the other hand, I consider my bike to Playfair a nice warm-up/cool-down and an opportunity to enjoy a ride through Missoula’s neighborhoods.

  6. Ayn Rand

    Alphabet girl, careful you could be considered a capitalist. You would loose your left loosy card.

  7. Jim Lang

    There is no proposal to move the Ice Rink. The article says: “There are some common threads to all three. The Glacier Ice Rink would remain intact.

  8. Maybe we could leave the ice-rink where it is, add a few more park amenities (to offer the same closeness of facilities for other sports), extended the education campuses a bit, AND build new housing/commercial development on the property.

    The question j-girl really asks is – why does the Fair have to be located in a residential neighborhood? Monster trucks, agricultural smells, loud concerts, bad parking and all that.

  9. Nick Domitrovich

    Thanks for reading for me Jim!

  10. Dan

    Moving the fair to Fort Missoula would result in both historic properties losing their historic values. I’m not interested in losing two of our historic gems through one short-sighted idea.

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