NAMPA -- The Canyon County Fair says it has outgrown its Caldwell home and has a new spot picked out and purchased.

Not everyone is on board with the proposed move.

As you may imagine, moving the fair from Caldwell is a bit controversial.

In 2009, the county bought land north of Nampa with the idea to move the fair there.

The plot of land is just off Highway 20-26 and Franklin Road.

The fair board likes this area because there is 80 acres of county-owned space.

They want to build a full site that could be used year-round for a variety of agricultural activities and education.

Others say this isn't ideal.

Right now, the Canyon County Fair shares city property with several other groups and will soon add College of Idaho football to that list.

The current location, it's just constricted for space, and the railroad tracks are right there so there's a safety issue definitely, definitely a parking issue. That's always a big deal come fair time is the parking, Canyon County Fair Board Chairman Tim Lowber said.

That's why the board would like to see this estimated $40 million fairground built from the ground up, north of Nampa.

But the Caldwell Chamber of Commerce has economic concerns and would rather see improvements to the current site.

Even though it's a four-day event, having that kind of traffic and that kind of visibility into an area that's got so much rich history into it, I think would be a loss to the business community and also a disruption to the culture of what the fair really is, Chamber of Commerce Chair Julie Taylor said.

And Nampa Mayor Tom Dale suggests they combine with the Idaho Center, which already has indoor and outdoor arenas and corrals.

It just makes sense on so many levels not to build stuff that's already existing in the county, Dale said. These are county resources. It's not Caldwell versus Nampa. It's county resources. What's the best utilization of limited resources?

Ultimately, it will be up for a county commission vote.

I'm just looking at the cost that would be incurred. What's it going to take to actually develop that piece of ground for a fair facility, the buildings, the livestock areas, potential concert areas and the event display areas for anybody that would come in, Canyon County Commissioner Craig Hanson said.

There is no specific timeline for when the commission might vote, or any deadlines for when a decision needs to be made.

This Wednesday, the fair board will be giving the county even more information.

If they use the new property and plans, county fair officials anticipate the initial move would cost around $12 million. They are looking at both private and public funding sources.

Read or Share this story: