Supervisors agree to give $3,500 toward raceway guardrail

Tuesday, October 4, 2005

After some give and take, the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors last Tuesday agreed to give $3,500 toward materials for a guardrail or concrete barrier for Buena Vista Raceway at the county fairgrounds in Alta.

According to the agreement the Buena Vista County Fair Board and Buena Vista Raceway, the Fair Board maintains the track. The possibility of losing its insurance policy unless improvements are made to the guardrail recently led Lee Meyer, track promoter, to ask the Fair Board, and the Board of Supervisors, to help with repairs.

Meyer offered to contribute $7,000 in labor for the guardrails, provided the county could come up with $3,500 for materials. Another option would have been concrete barriers which would have cost $17,500 for concrete and another $2,750 for steel pipe on top of the concrete barrier.

"It's quite an undertaking for us," said Fair Board Race Committee Chair Vince McGee about erecting a barrier along the north straightaway. McGee said the Fair Board had already built a cattle building and not long ago paid off a connection to the Alta city sewer, costs that have eaten away at the Fair Board's budget. He said he would prefer to see a concrete barrier built than a metal rail. "It would basically be a done deal if we did it that way," McGee said of the concrete barrier. While the raceway insurance carrier is demanding that something be done, McGee said the raceway insurance company would not guarantee that a metal guardrail would be adequate for another five years.

The guardrail alone isn't the end of repair costs at the raceway area of the fairgrounds. An area on the north side of the track next to a tower continually washes out and needs to be tiled or have some other means of drainage and the grandstand is badly in need of repairs.

Meyer said he would like to have three years added to his contract which has two years remaining to justify his investment in the repairs.

Supervisor Bill Lanphere said he found Meyer's request reasonable "if the promoter is willing to pay $7,000."

"But we don't know if it will go five years," Fair Board Member Mary Weiland said, addressing Meyer's request for an extended contract.

Fair Board Member Mary Lee Rotert said there might be a possibility of a grant to renovate the grandstand.

Supervisor Jim Gustafson moved that the Board approve adding $3,500 to the Fair Board budget, allowing the Fair Board and Meyer to work out whether they want to go with a guardrail or concrete barricade. A motion by Supervisor Bill Lanphere to raise the amount to $5,000 failed, but the Board approved the $3,500 increase.

The Fair Board before Tuesday's supplement was budgeted for $17,500 for the current fiscal year, up from $15,000 for the previous year.

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