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Fair, county move closer on land swap

Apr 26, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

The Fremont County Fair Board is asking county commissioners to support a proposed land swap that would provide the Riverton venue an additional parking area while helping a separate group's plans to develop a Wind River pathway.

Fair manager Barney Cosner met with commissioners April 17 to rekindle discussions and interest in the proposed land swap with the non-profit Riverton Depot Foundation.

"The fair doesn't have any concerns about that," Cosner said about the swap involving fair lands along the Wind River. "We're contiguous to it, but we do not utilize it."

He added, "We have no objection to that trade continuing on."

In exchange for giving up a parcel along the Wind River and another downstream, the fair would receive a chunk of land just west of the fairgrounds and south of GLM Storage with ingress from Broadway Avenue.

The ability to funnel traffic through what would serve as additional fairgrounds parking "is a big plus there," Cosner said. "Once we access this area, we have an ingress and egress."

He said the land would benefit plans by Alan Moore and his Depot Foundation.

"They feel like they can take these properties and join them" with their trail plan for the area, he said.

"We can't even get to it. It's not anything we will ever use," Cosner said of the river-bottom property.

More than a year ago, discussions involved intentions by the Depot Foundation to develop the riverfront land into a non-vehicular recreational area.

The plans involve a walking path as well as areas for horseback riding and possibly an equestrian park.

The group already has made progress on development of the trail along the riverfront.

Cosner provided the commission with a letter dated April 12 that states the fair board supports the proposed land swap.

"The Fair Board requests the Fremont County Commissioners review and authorize the exact county property to be utilized in the exchange, as there is property the Fair Board does not utilize and is not familiar with," according to the letter.

Commission vice chairman Pat Hickerson said he had concerns about the fairness of the trade.

"I would like to see it a more equitable trade," he said, noting the original appraisals showed a $65,000 difference against the county.

Cosner said he does not know the properties' values.

"We have no concept of values of those properties we do not use," he said. "Beyond that it really is not something the fair board has ever used or intends to use" due to accessibility issues.

Hickerson and other commissioners seemed to favor the proposed trade.

"I think if we can work the details out, it's fine," he said.

Part of the commission's consideration involved the county's land known as the Major Property in northwest Riverton that could become the new fairgrounds years from now.

"We don't want to continue to develop things down there I don't think," Hickerson said about the south Riverton fairgrounds venue. "We don't want to continue to develop the old fairgrounds, which kind of changes our focus."

Commission chairman Doug Thompson encouraged Cosner to make progress on the trade's details.

"We are agreeable to those two parcels being traded ... but we need to see it in black and white," Thompson said.

"We'll try to fast-track this," Cosner replied.

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