Public Input Sought for Fairgrounds Master Plan
Sandy Strehlou writes to ask for your participation in this FMP Update…
You may have heard that the County is preparing to update the Fairgrounds Master Plan. A consulting firm has been hired to help solicit public input and provide guidance in crafting the plan. The update will direct fairgrounds development, maintenance and activities for the next ten or more years.
I am writing to you to encourage you to complete the survey (link provided https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SJCFMasterPlan) and to stop by the Master Plan Consultants booth at the upcoming Fair.
The fairgrounds is an important resource, cultural landscape, and a meeting place. It is perhaps the one place that I can think of that brings islanders from all islands together for the Fair each year. This alone makes it a historic cultural landscape, one that we need to work together to protect and preserve.
Nationally, fairs and fairgrounds are disappearing because one-week-a-year fair use is not sustainable for such large landholdings. This is why it is critical for our community to pull together to help plan the next 10-20 years of fairgrounds use and development. How do we do this and protect its unique character and sense of place? We all need to help figure this out.
One question on my mind is who and when and where a new barn will be built? I feel certain that it will need to be multi-purpose and be usable for different purposes all year round. I also believe the architectural style and materials will be critical in maintaining a sense of place, and telling the story of the fairgrounds and San Juan County’s rural heritage. I also believe that going forward the fairgrounds must be environmentally sustainable, and that the visual character/heritage and sustainable development can be melded into a plan that is dynamic and authentic to San Juan County.
We can’t sit back and expect that county staff and the consultants will be able to make a plan by themselves, at least one that resonates county-wide. This is why I encourage you to be thinking about the fairgrounds, and to contribute your voice and ideas to the planning process.
The survey asks very basic questions. Detailed ideas and suggestions can be communicated at the Fair or by sending email to DonaW@sanjuanco.com
Here are some things to be thinking about:
- What are the existing conditions on the site?
- How should the fairgrounds be improved?
- What are the historical and cultural significance of the fairgrounds to County residents?
- What kinds of new or expanded uses should be considered?
- How should recommended improvements be implemented and funded?
I hope to see you at the Master Plan booth at the fair!
Historic Preservation Coordinator
Town of Friday Harbor