Garfield County commissioners won’t remove new berm at fairgrounds
RIFLE — Garfield County will not attempt to alter work being done at the county fairgrounds in Rifle, despite some citizen complaints about a landscaped berm that was recently built along Railroad Avenue.
County Commissioner Mike Samson of Rifle said he has received numerous calls in recent weeks from residents of his district objecting to the berm that runs along the east side of the fairgrounds.
“One of their concerns is the berm … and that they are not going to be able to see what’s going on at the fairgrounds when they drive by,” Samson said during a special county commissioners meeting Monday to review the fairgrounds improvements plan.
“There is some historical value there,” said Samson, who initially wanted his fellow commissioners to consider a change order to possibly remove the berm or make it smaller before next month’s Garfield County Fair.
After giving it some more thought and talking to some of the neighboring businesses during the past week, though, he said he’s fine leaving the improvements the way they are.
“We are trying to do the best we can to improve the fairgrounds,” Samson said. “I believe most people will be pretty happy with the changes when they’re complete.”
Besides, it’s too late to make any changes this year, especially with the fair coming up Aug. 5-11. The county fair is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Commissioners were also updated on the work done to date at the fairgrounds, which has included paving of the parking areas and new landscaping, including berms on the east and north sides of the site.
The east berm includes a drainage feature to handle storm water from the north end of the property to the south, said county engineer Randy Withee.
“We were going to regrade that whole east side, but in order to take the drainage to the south end we needed the berm to do it,” he said.
Some trees have already been planted on the berm, and it will be seeded with grass once the weather cools off, Withee said.
Businesses located across Railroad Avenue from the fairgrounds have also been supportive of the work and agreed the berm will help serve as a dust and noise barrier, he said.
County commissioners are planning a series of public forums to discuss the fairgrounds work and programming issues after the fair. The meetings are planned for the third Thursday in August, September and October.
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