Apr 19, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterIf the Fremont County Fair Board had its way, more than 100 acres of county owned land in northwest Riverton would become a vast venue capable of handling all types of events and conventions.
"The framework and basics are there," fair manager Barney Cosner told commissioners on April 17 about wish-list plans for the site. "It's a much stronger potential than what the current fairgrounds structure is."
While by no means indicating concrete plans for development of the property north of Riverton High School, Cosner said the idea is to explore options.
"We were asked to take a hard look at what our vision would be for the property in question," he said. "This is just for conversation and 'dreamability.'"
The fair board would propose a 200,000-square-foot structure under a roof for hosting nearly all types of events and making Riverton the primary venue in Wyoming, Cosner said.
"I would probably be willing ... to say this is a facility that would be second to none in the state of Wyoming," he said.
Cosner estimated the structure would cost $25 million and have an operations and maintenance budget of $4 million.
No firm plan
Aside from continuing agricultural functions on the land, commissioners have not announced any definitive plans for the property they bought for $200,000 in September from Wayne Major Sr. and his son, Wayne Major Jr.
The purchase included a a roughly 114-acre parcel of agricultural land that extends north of Riverton Memorial Hospital and Jaycee Park to Cooper Road and two commercial lots off Major Avenue.
Commissioners have hinted at using the land for a new rodeo grounds or a facility to house Circuit Court and various law enforcement functions.
In December Central Wyoming College administrative services vice president Jay Nielson proposed a partnership involving county and City of Riverton governments to plan a community multi-events center.
Cosner voiced support for establishing strong ties with Central Wyoming College and its existing facilities in the area to develop the property to its maximum potential.
"What it does is it opens up multiple opportunities," Cosner said.
He envisions a venue that could handle conventions, rodeos and other sporting events, the fair and myriad others.
"I think the fair board would like to have the commission keep in mind those kinds of opportunities don't come along very often," Cosner said.
Commission chairman Doug Thompson questioned the road system in the area of the property and whether it could handle event traffic.
"It looks inadequate for the volumes of people this type of facility would draw," Thompson said. "I don't see the existing road structure handling the volume of cars."
Cosner remained optimistic the site would work with planned expansions.
"The city has plans of expanding Cooper Road tying into Webbwood Road," he said.
"College View (Drive) has been talked about very strongly" as a likely route, he added. "Major Avenue has been talked about being expanded."
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