Ada Seeks Ideas For Fairgrounds Rebirth

Ada County Commishes met Wednesday and decided that “horse racing is out” at the fairgrounds. Details at IDAHOPRESS.

The GUARDIAN has long advocated creating an agricultural-based historical park on the site which could serve as an educational destination venue. We will roll out our plan which so far has received no reception from past or present commishes. Please offer your sentiments.


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!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Nostalgia just ain’t what it used to be.

  2. Here’s a modest proposal for PART of the facility:

    My friends Judy and Kate keep their horses at a facility way out off Kuna-Mora Road. It’s probably a 15-mile drive from their home that’s a mile from the Fairgrounds. I was telling them about the abandoned stables behind Les Bois Park. We were in agreement about how AWESOME it would be if they could open those stables to area horse-lovers – a nearby urban place to keep and ride their horses.
    (A “horse park” next to the RV park.)

    It certainly wouldn’t need to occupy the entire property, and would be very inexpensive to operate, supported entirely by the user community.

    (Such a facility would also mesh nicely with your agriculture heritage park, seems to me…)

  3. Garden City would be very wise to create a true mixed use area. If they created a combination of the legacy farm that the editor outlined and something similar to what is being developed at the village they would create value and a good tax base. They would also create a unique long lasting educational environment. The Simplot and Yanke Foundations have all the needed machinery and dispaly items. Might have them get involved.

  4. Dave, so how are you going to pay for your idea? Expo Idaho is a private enterprise fund run by ada county. If you look at the county budget you will see that no tax payer money is spent at Expo Idaho. The $ they make pays bills and maintenance. You going to make them double the admission fee at the fair?

    EDITOR NOTE–Citizens can approve (or not) a bond for initial construction. Done right, concessions like “general store,” restaurants, rides, even a hotel could fund the operational costs.

  5. Bonnie Krupp
    Nov 8, 2019, 9:30 am

    A vote of the citizens to do what? Add a tax or bond issue? Who is going to staff it? The ACC are big on spending raises way beyond cost of living so this could be a huge expense down the road. Would suggest that a nonprofit be set up with a development fee from all the new developers including the old ones.

  6. Don Griffin
    Nov 8, 2019, 10:45 am

    It sounds like a wonderful idea.
    It could be a living museum which
    would mean a lot to children.
    parents and grandparents.

  7. Eamonn Harter
    Nov 8, 2019, 11:05 am

    The last things we need in Boise are more shacks or apartment buildings. Some other local examples to follow are Eagle Island State Park and Hubbard Reservoir. One option is turning the property over to the state for the purpose of developing it as a new state park similar to Veterans Memorial.

  8. Georgianna Ainslie
    Nov 8, 2019, 4:50 pm

    That sounds like an interesting idea. I have completely enjoyed the living museums I have been to in Norway, at Colonial Williamsburg, and Plimoth Plantation (yes, that is the correct spelling). Seems like I’ve been to another one too.

  9. Now if we only had a trolly to take folks to this boondoggle! One boondoggle deserves another.

  10. LOL. The heritage park idea is in the same category as streetcars and soccer stadiums.

  11. Build a new stadium, bulldoze the old one for parking.

  12. western guy
    Nov 9, 2019, 6:27 pm

    How about mostly open space? Duh.

  13. It would make a beautiful park. If not that, let’s get it on the tax rolls.

  14. Bob Taylor: “LOL. The heritage park idea is in the same category as streetcars and soccer stadiums.”

    It’s NOT in the same category in the following ways:
    1) The County already owns the land underneath Les Bois Park. It’s just a question about what purpose that land should serve, and how the citizen taxpayers might benefit.
    2) I’d think the startup cost would be FAR less expensive than either a major structure like a stadium, or a streetcar (projections around $100 million startup, and that’s probably low).
    3) Maintenance/operation costs would likewise be “exponentially modest” compared with either stadium or streetcar. Or at least that would be my expectation, if I were asked to officially support it. Most of the ongoing expense could be passed on to the actual beneficiaries, rather than the taxpayers. (By contrast, a streetcar would probably be 90-100% taxpayer-supported, henceforth and forever.)

  15. 2:3 County Commissioners are liberals in cahoots with TeamDave. McCLean will be TeamDave 2.0 I place my bet on low income government owned projects style housing. In other words exactly the wrong use, and a very wasteful unproductive use. Also it is important to get rid of the Hawks stadium so as to add pressure for the TeamDave stadium scam. The right use is to clear it, clean it and advertise it for huge money as a new Fortune 50 HQ location. Boise is short of high wage jobs for the well educated. We are thriving on transplants moving here, not so much on locally generated money.

    Hey, Team Dave, Want big jobs? Get a non-stop to NYC, DC, and ATL. The airline’s have baby jets with long range now. Should have been part of the no tax swindle you gave to an airline a few years ago.

  16. Dear bikeboy

    Of course the government subsidy of a heritage park would be less. However, even $50,000 is too much, and it would likely be a great deal more. Let me rephrase: In the category of dumb ideas to waste taxpayer money, a heritage parks joins streetcars and subsidized sports facilities.

  17. I’m sure they will listen to the people and do what they want. Ada County has a history of this.

  18. Just curious, but what would it take to get horse racing back like the good ‘ol days for which the track was actually built for?

  19. Would like to participate
    Nov 17, 2019, 9:45 am

    I would like to participate in the ADA discussions, but they are in the middle of the day. Commissioners – have some evening and weekend sessions. It will bear fruit.

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