Fair Report On Ada Fair Land Use

Twenty years ago Ada County Commishes inked a deal to allow an RV trailer park at the Fairgrounds along the river for $50 a year for a term of 20 years.

The land has an estimated value in excess of $3 million today.

Former Commish Mike Johnson told the GUARDIAN the intent was strictly to provide a place for “carnies and horsemen to park their rigs during events.”

Before anyone realized it, the RV park operator holding the lease was renting spaces for longer periods and those periods merged into years. The result is what has become a slum of sorts with frequent police calls and an operator who grosses an estimated $300,000 annually off his $50 lease on public land.

Current Commishes are about to put a stop to the deal and several months ago notified the operator the lease expires in September. Residents are unhappy and have become media stars at the expense of the Commishes who appear to be evicting people who deserve to live on the county land.

Current Commish Sharon Ullman said the county plans to upgrade the RV park and negotiate a new lease adding, “It won’t be for a mere $50 a year that’s for darn sure.” She said there has also been talk of selling the Lady Bird Park at the corner of Chinden and Glenwood for commercial use and relocating the park to an area along the river.

Both Ullman and Johnson say the position of the county officials remains the same 20 years apart: stay out of the trailer park business while still providing spaces for visitors working at events.

To her credit, Ullman has sent a letter to a group of officials dedicated to helping the homeless with affordable cousing–Continuum of Care Committee. The letter asks providers to contact tenants of the RV park to offer assistance.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. It is now, what?. Two or three years with no racing schedule and therefore no off track betting at Le Boise? I fail to understand just where , when we are losing millions in lost revenue, are the county big wigs going to get the money to upgrade the RV park?

  2. Good background…thanks for the info. Helps to understand how this all started.

  3. Oh great… now the County wants to get in the RV Park business directly.

    EDITOR NOTE– From what we understand they want to stay OUT. The plan seems to be to improve and clean up the RV site and lease it to another operator with tighter restrictions for a lot more money.

  4. Guardian ~ Thank you for covering this story and trying to get more accurate information out to the public. I think I might not have clearly communicated on one point: we are not yet sure who will be running the RV Park. We might contract with an individual, hire an employee, or find an independent operator. No decision has been made, thus far. My point was that the county has no intention of leasing this $3 million+ piece of real estate out for a mere $50 a year, which the commissioners did 20 years ago, as it would not be in the best interest of the County’s 400,000 taxpayers.

  5. “We might contract with an individual, HIRE AN EMPLOYEE, or find an independent operator.”

    Sound pretty “direct” to me, Dave. I can’t figure out how RV parks, a fair, horse racing, and baseball got to be essential County services.

    EDITOR NOTE–Eric, you got me on this one. We will have more on the issue very soon.

  6. It is easy to clear up the long term stay problem. Just limit the time people can stay and once past that time the rate goes through the roof. Pick some reasonable amount of time for an event, allow some small time on the front and back of the event and after that they have to leave.

    The racing season may pose a problem with this proposal but not other events.

  7. I just want to know who got the bribe money “20 years ago” when the original lease was inked? even 20 years ago to that place was making money and a whole lot more than $50 a YEAR!!!

  8. Maybe a better question is who is going to get the bribe money this go round

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