In light of the desire of Garden City to takeover the Expo Idaho Fairgrounds and Ada Commishes refusal to give it up, we felt compelled to share this vision which the GUARDIAN editor offered up 10 years ago to the Ada County Commishes. This post is a repeat from 2007 and still worthy of consideration.
All you developers and politicians better keep your greedy hands off the Western Idaho Fairgrounds because it belongs to us–the people of Ada County.
If there are any changes they should be along the lines of an “agriculture heritage park” preserving the past in a manner which will educate today’s children and adults. It will provide a hands on experience for students and give us all a peek into the proud agricultural heritage of rural Idaho.
Given the numbers of farmers who have curtailed their farm activities for economic, social, and geriatric reasons, there is a wealth of expertise in the area of milking cows, planting crops, horse shoeing, threshing grain, fixing tractors, feeding goats, and tending chickens.
With a vote of the citizens and through donations, we could finance a demonstration farm with authentic barns, sheds and farm houses–plenty are being demolished to make room for the hordes seeking to live shoulder-to-shoulder with their neighbors in what was once rural Ada County.
Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia, Greenfield Village near Detroit, The LBJ Ranch in Texas are all historic parks which preserve our heritage and provide an educational experience for young and old alike with historic demonstration farms and they are big tourist attractions.
The oft-maligned state of Mississippi has a wonderful “southern town” heritage park adjacent to the state fairgrounds in Jackson. It has a general store, church, gas station with a hand pump, and all that exemplified life in the deep south about 1900.
With a little excavation, the high water table at the race track could serve as a superb urban fishery. The Idaho Historical Society has several turn of the century structures which would be a valuable contribution to an authentic Idaho farmstead. Toss in a blacksmith, a small sawmill, some steam engines, antique farm equipment and you have a first class year round educational attraction with working demonstrations on a rotating basis.
If anything is changed or developed at Ada County’s fairground site it should be for the benefit of every citizen in the county and not aimed to benefit politicians and developers. Traditionally county fairs provided a common link between urban and rural life. What better way to make that link permanent than with an historic theme park?
Before the developers and other special interest groups get their hands on our fairgrounds, the people need to make their voices heard in support of a park-like venue with something for everyone.
The horse races have proven to be an endless round of scandals, lawsuits, and a drain on public resources for the pleasure of a dwindling few. With our new farm park we can give youngsters the opportunity to take a wagon ride behind real “horsepower.”
And yes, there is room for a hotel AND God forbid a convention center!