Tracking code caldwell guardian

Friday, April 5, 2013

What You May Not Know About the Canyon County Fair Moving Out of Caldwell

THE GUARDIAN read with interest the recent articles in the local paper on the move of the Canyon County Fair out of the current site the new site on Hwy. 20-26.  THE GUARDIAN had a nice long chat with one of the Fair Board members and here's the situation:

First, the Fair does not own any of the property the current fair uses except Gabiola Field and the metal building (and not the ground the building sits on) at the current site in Caldwell.  The title to all of the ground is held by the City of Caldwell.  The Fair can't build on property they don't own.

There are meeting minutes from many years ago where the grounds were ceded to the Fair but for whatever reason the deeds were not recorded and the City still holds title to the land and has shown no inclination to do anything to keep the Fair in Caldwell.  The City of Caldwell has been disinclined to meet the Fair needs at any level of reasonable accommodation.

Second, there were many concerned citizens back in the day who saw a need for fair expansion and they all put $1,000.00 or more towards the purchase property from 21st to Linden that was not already owned by the City.  They took the initiative to buy this for the City for the sole purpose of Fair expansion.  The City ignored the Fair and built baseball fields on all of the property much to the chagrin of those who thought they had made a contribution to Fair expansion in Caldwell.

Third, the College of Idaho football program is going to take over the use of Simplot Stadium and will not allow the Fair to use the Stadium property due to turf rehabilitation costs and need to keep the field in good condition for their football program.  The costs for the renewal and care are put at around $1MM if you buy into the talk around town.

Fourth,  Caldwell Mayor and City Council have all but ignored the needs of the Fair by not deeding property to the Fair Board and paving the way for needed expansion deemed necessary by the Fair to remain a viable event.  Talks with Mayor Nancolas pretty much were; they had a good meeting but the needs of the Fair Board were ignored. 

The Fair did the only reasonable thing they could do and that was try to figure out what the best site would be moving forward.  The site out on 20/26 was bought from a bank that had repossessed the property from a bankrupt developer at market price based on the appraisal made at the time of purchase.  They did not remove farm ground from ag production; it had already been bought for development and was destined to be used for housing.

Fifth,  the Fair Board approached the Mayor Tom Dale of Nampa and the City Council of Nampa about locating the Fair at the Idaho Center to no avail.  The City of Nampa wanted the Fair Board to buy up property east of the Idaho Center for the carnival portion and outside exhibit areas of the Fair and then let the City of Nampa use it rent free the rest of the year.  Cost of the property next to the Idaho Center was in excess of $300,000 per acre.  The math on the cost of the property would not work for the Fair Board.

In summary,  the City of Caldwell has once again unwittingly worked long and hard to get the Fair to move out of town and have done little to nothing in order to keep this event in Caldwell.


  1. Once again that reputation as a city had to do business with rears its ugly head. I can only wonder how Mayor Nancolas will spin this reality.

  2. It is amazing how most of the people we have elected to various offices have no clue how a bussines has to operate to survive.

  3. Land east of the Idaho Center is worthless to city of Nampa probably only accessible by rail and hang glider. Why the high price? Is it to bail out the outrageous amount they paid for it?

    1. The person I spoke with about the cost of the land east of the Idaho Center said the owner (whomever that is) wanted $7/sft. for that property and that is how I came up with the price for the property needed to put the fair at the Idaho Center. If it is indeed landlocked with no reasonable access the value is very questionable.

  4. Live in Caldwell, work in Boise, shop in Nampa and Caldwell has parks.

  5. Why wouldn't one expect Caldwell wanting the fair to move. If moved, the land probably goes into urban renewal district. Base value is almost zero and the increment value and resulting taxes goes into the urban renewal slush fund to be spent without any voter oversight. Win-win for Caldwell, just more money to spend with very little accountablity.

    1. CEURA will sunset in 2014 with new projects if they hold true to their pledge to other taxing districts. Taxes collected are scheduled to go back to taxing districts from 2014 to 2022 when the whole mess goes bye-bye.

  6. Here's some more info on the land around the fair. There are actually 56 acres in and around the current fair. The city owns all the property clear to Linden. It was bought by Caldwell Unlimited and others to allow for fair expansion. There has been very little citizen input on the move to the new site. And there are those who feel left out of the decision and feel the Fair Board is in the mode they own the land and come hell or high water the move is going to happen. They bought the property, the have paid for an expensive Master Plan and it is too late to change things at this point.

    The Caldwell Chamber is on high alert over this and they are in the midst of lining up their ducks on this matter. The County Commishes are taking flack because they signed off on the purchase of the property right on the heels of two jail site purchases without public input. The Fair Board is in the middle of putting in their ear plugs and installing their collective beer goggles going forward.

    In addition, there seems to be a discussion at the Prosecutors Office about the need for the Fair Board to open all their stuff up for public records requests for information. They have been mum on the costs on a number of things that are troubling. Further, the Fair is not anywhere near the top of the levy cap they can assess for taxes. They can legally glen $2MM a year from property taxes but only take somewhere in the neighborhood of $400k/year. Topping out the tax bite can go a long way to finance fair projects via the easy pay plan if they go for judicial confirmation on a new fairground. They could issue revenue bonds to the level they can cover expenses with the top levy rate and the $2MM it would bring to the Fair Board coffers.

  7. The layers of this onion are just beginning to get peeled back. It sounds to me like a whole lot of people are not talking and not listening on all sides.

  8. There are three entities that are not engaging their responsibility to discuss things in all of this and my fingers are pointing to the fair board members for buying the property in the first place, second the commissioners approved the purchase on the heels of two disastrous and ill timed purchases of jail property without the green light from taxpayers and finally the city officials of Caldwell for not listening to the Fair Board people. What a mess we have at this point in time.

    I would also add that my own personal survey of people in Caldwell find it a shame the fair is moving out of town. This leads me to believe the surveys in the Fair Master Plan are very suspect on the results they got supporting the move out of town.

  9. It appears to me the inmates have been and still are running the insane asylum . We the tax payers actually pay these people to screw us.

  10. Caldwell gets what it deserves for trying to take the cheap way out......


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