Trenton city officials discuss future of fairgrounds

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In what will likely be the first of several meetings, a discussion was held on Tuesday afternoon to explore the possibility of finding an alternative location for the Trenton fairgrounds.

The discussion involved the city council’s economic development committee, city officials, representatives from the Trenton Park Board, North Central Missouri Fair Board, and North Central Missouri College. The annual fair is held on city property overseen by the Park Board.

Committee Chairman Duane Urich indicated that the initial reason for the meeting was to encourage people to think and talk about change. He also requested ideas that could benefit all entities involved.

City Administrator Ron Urton said the city farm at the north edge of Trenton is one possible location for future fairgrounds. The land is currently used for row crops. Urton also noted that another potential location could be at or near the NCMC Barton campus, just southeast of Trenton. If the fairground location changes in the future, Urton said it could open up the current fairground parking areas to include additional ball fields. A park board member was quoted as saying that a long-range study from several years ago included preliminary, conceptual plans for four ball fields. Two of these comprise the current Ebbe sports complex. Having more ball fields would benefit the college, Trenton schools, town teams, and youth ball leagues in terms of scheduling.

Development and financing for future fairgrounds will require long-range planning, involving many components.

Funding is not the least of which. It was reported that recreation grants are available for the construction of new ball fields, often tied to a local matching amount of funds. Applications and other documents will need to be prepared and submitted to qualify for any grant.

Urton told KTTN that if the city places an economic development sales tax issue on an election ballot and Trenton voters approve the tax, it could generate revenues that could be used as a local match to obtain one or multiple grants, however, sales tax revenue could also be allocated to other economic development projects as determined by the city.

While the North Central Missouri Fair may be at a different site in the future, Urton said efforts would likely be made to ensure the new location can host a variety of public events. Any physical development of the land and buildings would be designed with multiple uses in mind.

Urton added that the economic development committee and city officials hope to meet again with the various entities before the end of this year.