CALDWELL — Canyon County Fair officials are asking the Caldwell Urban Renewal Agency for up to $2.2 million for infrastructure for the planned Fair Expo Center.

Last year, fair officials unveiled building plans and the design firm they’d be working with. On Monday, Paul Navarro, Canyon County facilities director, and Diana Sinner, Canyon County Fair director, requested the $2.2 million from the urban renewal agency for projects including sidewalks, bridges and a parking lot.

Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas opened Monday’s fair presentation by saying a group of county and city officials and rodeo organizers have been working on a project for the Fair Expo Center for over a year and a half.

Last week, Navarro and Sinner gave another Fair Expo Center presentation to the Board of Canyon County Commissioners, who sent a letter of support for the Fair Expo Center to the urban renewal agency.

The fair presentation included renderings of the approximately 45,000-square-foot building that will be built on the corner of the Caldwell Events Center property, near the South Georgia Avenue curve.

Navarro said Canyon County has raised about $2.5 million for the fair building. Including infrastructure, the building is expected to cost $4.9 million.

“Ultimately we are trying to accommodate as many people who want to visit the fair as we can, and that is why expansion has been a topic for several years,” Sinner said during the meeting.

Sinner said the expo building will be used for events, exhibits and concerts year-round. During the fair, it will free up space in the O’Connor Field House for 4-H and FFA exhibitors, as well as vendors.

The building will also be used to store fair items and could be available for use for county or local events, according to the application.

The fair’s concert venue will eventually be relocated to a grassy area with a temporary stage on the opposite side of the lot from where the new building will go, which will open up the Caldwell Night Rodeo stadium for other fair events and vendors.

The new center is set to have concrete floors, air conditioning and a small, year-round office space for four to six staff members.

“Our fair has grown, we have a need for more space,” said Navarro in the meeting. “Our current building is a barn, with a dirt floor and no air conditioning.”

Sinner said the 4-H program and other fair activities have been asking for more space for years.

“I think we have an opportunity to really make the Canyon County Fair something special,” Sinner said. “I view what we are doing now as the beginning of the Canyon County Fair, not the completion. I would appreciate any support we get.”

The urban renewal agency board will deliberate and talk with city staff about what they can afford to fund. They plan to make a decision in their meeting next month.

Rachel Spacek is the Latino Affairs and Canyon County reporter for the{span} Idaho Press. {/span}You can reach her at rspacek@idahopress.com. Follow her on twitter @RachelSpacek.

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