The Agriplex will Reflect County Agricultural Heritage and Future While Reducing Reliance on Taxpayer Dollars
CALDWELL, ID – The Canyon County Fair Board has announced detailed plans to construct a year-round agricultural education and exhibition center, which will also serve as a new, permanent home for an expanded Canyon County Fair.
Over five years in the planning, the effort began with the purchase of an 80-acre parcel on Routes 20-26, in 2009.
The Canyon County Commission, the Canyon County Fair Board, the Idaho Agriculture Foundation and numerous members of the agricultural community are on a path to enhance Canyon County’s agricultural heritage for generations to come. The effort starts with the development of a state-of-the-art facility to showcase agriculture events— dubbed the “Agriplex.”
“We have been working toward this project for a long time,” says Tim Lowber, Vice-Chair of the Canyon County Fair Board. “Our commitment from the beginning has been to provide a facility for the people of the county with a top-quality design as well as minimize the need for public subsidies. As Canyon County is one of the nation’s premier agricultural areas, our citizens deserve only the best,” he added.
The project, which is staged in three-phases, is being funded through a capital campaign, seeking private support. The Idaho Agricultural Foundation and the Canyon County Fair Board are spearheading the effort. A final campaign goal will be announced when the campaign completes the initial quiet or “nucleus” phase, which is the period in which campaign leadership and key gifts are acquired.
Similar campaigns in our area include the successful campaign for the Caldwell YMCA, and current campaign for enhancement to the new exhibition center for the Idaho Historical Association. Successful capital campaigns in the Treasure Valley have reached upwards of $40 million. The first phase of the Agriplex project is approximately $12 million.
“Doing it right,” says Fair Administrator, Rosalie Cope, “has been our goal from the beginning.” A nationally ranked fairground and agricultural exhibition facility planning firm was hired to conduct a thorough planning study and design, including an economic impact component. Once the initial planning study was complete, national professional fundraising counsel was retained to conduct a campaign feasibility study and provide ongoing counsel to the Fair and Foundation boards on campaign execution.
“These improvements will allow us to do something that few entities of government have accomplished—to reduce, and perhaps even eliminate, reliance on tax payer dollars,” said Fair Board Chairman, Laren Bailey, “The reality is that the Fair and its connected events need to create, as much as possible, a self-sustaining business model.”
The new complex will solve the issues that plague the current facilities and location. The site was chosen after anexhaustive exploration of land options, (including the Idaho Center). The Canyon County Commission approved the purchase of just more than 80 acres of land, in 2009, in an area appropriately zoned for such a facility.
“The movement to develop Canyon County’s Agriplex will help protect, preserve and promote Canyon County’s World Class Agricultural heritage for today and tomorrow,” said Lowber, “It’s time to turn to the broader community for support to build the facilities required to ensure the year-round education and promotion of Canyon County’s agricultural heritage.”
The Agriplex will mark the first time in the Fair’s 127 year history that all facilities and land will be under single ownership and administration—Canyon County—an essential element in designing a world-class facility that will serve the community.
Canyon County is one of the nation’s premier agricultural areas. A number of important agricultural value-added crops, including corn, mint, hops, potatoes and onions, to name a few, are grown in Canyon County. In fact, more than 100 different types of vegetables, row crops, seed crops and fruits are grown here. In addition, Canyon County currently and has historically supported a vibrant livestock industry ranging from horses to dairy and beef cattle.
The campaign case statement and other valuable information outlining the goals and objectives of the Agriplex effort can be found at www.canyoncountyfair.org.