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Master Plan

The Napa County Fairgrounds has been a major asset of the county since 1937. With nearly 70 acres containing event buildings, a golf course, speedway, and RV park, the fairgrounds have deteriorated over the last several years due to lack of capital for maintenance and improvements. State financial support was eliminated in 2011, exacerbating an already tight operating and capital improvement budget.

The fairgrounds have been operated since inception by the Napa County Fair Association on renewable, five year contract terms with the county. The Association has made considerable progress in meeting a host of challenges the last few years. Its board has been expanded, a new CEO hired, and operations modified to end losses. Articles of Incorporation were restated, new bylaws adopted, and designation as a 501(c)3 charitable organization was achieved. Strategic planning has been well underway since 2010.

Master Planning Project

The Association board realized in 2014 as part of its strategic planning effort that a facility master plan was an important step toward revitalizing the fairgrounds. A number of potential initiatives, such as building a conference center and upgrading and/or relocating the RV Park are somewhat obvious, but an overall plan prepared by professional land planners and market consultants is needed.

Three land planning firms with experience in fairgrounds were contacted and two proposals were received from highly regarded firms. RCH Group of Sacramento, California, was selected as the master planners at the Association’s June 2015 Board meeting. Working in conjunction with other consultants, they have coordinated a planning effort that was completed in two primary phases:
  1. Event Center Market Study. This analysis was conducted by a market consulting firm, Gruen Gruen + Associates, with the objective of determining the feasibility of a new or upgraded event/conference center at the fairgrounds.
  2. Facility Opportunity Assessment. This report explores alternative land uses, such as relocation of the RV Park, location for a potential event/conference center, more conjunctive use of the race track, upgrading existing facilities, improving the golf course, and a host of other possibilities, including financing strategies.
Below are the reports from Gruen Gruen + Associates and RCH Group. Phase one of the master planning efforts was completed when the board heard public comment and accepted the Gruen Gruen report in October 2015. Phase two was completed when the board received the report and presentation of the Opportunites Assessment by RCH Group at their regular board meeting on September 8, 2016. Now the work of the board begins as they will review, evaluate, and consider the various opportunities presented while working to create a master plan that provides for uses that: exhibit the finest constitution of the County of Napa and City of Calistoga, that serve the greater public, that serve as a place for learning and education, that serve as a place for entertainment, and that maintain flexible open space areas for a multitude of uses. Phase three will be to review and assess the various opportunities and ideas presented with further studies into the individual program areas.

Position Statements

Position 1:

After 12/31/18, the Association will no longer manage or operate the fairgrounds.

Position 2:

There is an urgent need for transition planning by July 1, 2018.

Position 3:

Support and advocate for the Napa County Fairgrounds to continue to serve the citizens of Napa County with cultural, social, and economic benefits in times of celebration as well as need.

Position 4:

Preserve open green space for public use.

Position 5:

Preserve the county fair as an annual event for community celebration in the up-valley.

Position 6:

Serve as an ally and partner with the County, or any subsequent entity that may arise during the transition period, in order to successfully transition to County management of the fairgrounds by January 1, 2019.
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