It's official: city getting fairgrounds

Members of the King County Council last week agreed to transfer the King County Fairgrounds and four other parcels to the city of Enumclaw, expressing a hope that the move will provide a catalyst for the city's economic development plans.

“The city of Enumclaw has a vision for the future of their city, and the fairgrounds will play a major role in making that vision a reality,” said Councilman Reagan Dunn, whose district includes the city of Enumclaw.

Dunn also noted the importance of keeping the King County Fair on the property. “This agreement also ensures that for the foreseeable future, we will continue to have a ‘county fair' in the rural heart of King County,” he said.

The agreement calls for the county to enter into a 10-year lease for use of the fairgrounds for the King County Fair.

Addressing the County Council on Enumclaw's behalf were Mayor John Wise, Enumclaw Chamber of Commerce Director Cathy Rigg and Chamber president Diane Anderson.

“This is the culmination of a two-year process between the city and King County to bring rural economic development to Enumclaw and the Plateau,” Wise said. “This property will become the feature component of the city's tourism future.”

The land deals calls for the transfer the fairgrounds, Sportsman Park, Farmers Park and two related agricultural parcels to Enumclaw. The city will take responsibility for maintenance and capital improvements on the property, with the county transferring the equipment needed to maintain the fairgrounds. The county will also transfer $2 million to the city; half of the funds must be used for capital improvements to the property and the remainder can be used for capital improvements or operating and maintenance expenses.

The decision to transfer the facility was one of the options presented to King County Executive Ron Sims as part of the Fairgrounds Business Plan developed by the Fairgrounds Board, a panel established in 2003 to advise the Parks and Recreation Division on matters related to the fairgrounds. Sims entered into negotiations with the City of Enumclaw and in 2006 reached a tentative agreement with the city for the transfer.

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