County Fairgrounds Makeover

For more than a year, community members have had many various opportunities to share their ideas and suggestions, review preliminary assessments, and discuss potential uses for this 158 acre...
Hilbert Morales / EL OBSERVADOR

Hilbert Morales / EL OBSERVADOR

For more than a year, community members have had many various opportunities to share their ideas and suggestions, review preliminary assessments, and discuss potential uses for this 158 acre County Fairgrounds site. To date, the multi-lingual community outreach for the project has included a combination of community booths at regional events, a community workshop, stakeholder meetings, and a multi-lingual online survey. More than 2,700 people have participated in person and over 2,800 have taken the online survey. These inputs will shape the future of the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds,

During the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors’ January 26, 2016 meeting they discussed the future of  SCC Fairgrounds. The BOS heard a presentation outlining public feedback and ideas, proposed land use concepts, and the recommended timeline and process for moving forward.

The Fairgrounds future planning has engaged the diverse community ensuring an inclusive and transparent process.

The BOS proposes creating a landmark community gathering space at its Fairgrounds 150-acre site; half would be dedicated to passive recreation and open space, and half would be active recreational community uses, with or without approximately 30 acres being reserved for Fairgrounds event operations. The C.H. Johnson consulting team has helped County staff draft a formal process for inviting proposers to submit their interests in helping the County implement the Board’s vision.

The BOS’s action on 01.26.16 was to advance the future makeover of the SCC Fairgrounds, envisioning a plan which supplied space for the Fair and Events, leisure and recreational activities. Their action further defined needs to be included in any proposal which the Board would eventually approve for the best public uses of the 150 acres of land.

When the County issues its official call for proposals, the Board wants prospective applicants with proposals to include space for a County Fair and other large events, a spacious park and open space and areas for “active recreation,” such as youth sports. The BOS emphasized that future plans be flexible; able to accommodate a diverse array of cultural and youth sporting events enabling this facility’s full use for 365 days a year.

This action was taken on a motion from Supervisor Cindy Chavez at the Board meeting on Tuesday, January 26, 2016.

Also approved was an extensive outreach plan that will give members of the public a variety of ways to provide input on the Fairgrounds planning, including a workshop for the public to create their visions for the Fairgrounds’ future.

“I appreciate the outreach that’s already been done,” said Board President Cortese. “But I’d like to see people who are interested break into small groups and work through the issues. It’s harder to work with 150 people at a time.”

Funding for the Fairgrounds’ makeover and ensuring its operations are financially self-sustainable will be a BOS goal.

Staff will bring back to the board a revised “Request for Qualification”, which is a call for interested parties to show that they have the finances, experience and capability of taking on the project. From that, a list of qualified applicants will be confirmed and a Request for Proposals will be issued to those on the list.  The Board will vote again on the Request for Proposals to assure that the applicants are clear as to what is expected in a final proposal. The public will have an opportunity to give input during this process.

The present land use allocations include: County Fair (30+ acres; accommodating other events; about 60 acres for open space; and 60+ acres for active recreational space. Another option may be to relocate the County Fair to another site and redevelop all 150 acres for recreation and community uses.

The Johnson Consulting Firmd evaluated conditions of the fairgrounds, market opportunities and public preferences for use of this public land. Its report established that a majority of residents favored uses that would provide open space, trails, sports fields, play spaces and amenities for community events.

The Hispanic-Latino community and its organizations are encouraged to include themselves in this planning process to ensure that their ideas, cultural & community needs are identified and included. It’s time to become involved, engaged, and represented. For more information and plan updates, visit: