Kalamazoo County Fairgrounds Major Expansion.
Most Work Will Be Done By Fairtime In August 2011 With Minor Finishing Touches To Be Done By September.
Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground expansion gets approved Tuesday
Published: Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 8:42 PM Updated: Tuesday, January 18, 2011, 9:03 PM
KALAMAZOO — Kalamazoo County commissioners were enthusiastic about the plan to expand the county’s expo center and voted unanimously for the project to move ahead on Tuesday.
The board approved a construction contract for $3.26 million with Cornerstone Construction Management, of Portage, to build an addition of nearly 35,000 square feet onto the expo center. The plan also calls for fairgrounds renovation that include removing the horse track, demolishing the grandstand bathrooms and making electrical upgrades.
“I think this is exciting,” said Commissioner John Zull, R-Portage. “I like the way it’s happening.”
The project, to total $3.6 million, is part of the Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground master plan approved in 2006. The parks department will pay for it using proceeds from the countywide 5 percent hotel tax.
Parks Director David Rachowicz told commissioners upgrades are needed to bring in more visitors and events to the expo center and promote local tourism. “The increase in space will definitely increase our marketability,” he said.
Construction on the expo center should be finished by Sept. 1, meaning work will be going on during this summer’s Kalamazoo County Fair. “This year may be a challenge because there’s going to be a construction site,” Rachowicz said.
But after those initial “growing pains,” Rachowicz said, the increased space at the fairground will allow it to bring in more attractions. Already, the United Kennel Club Premier Dog Show will return to Kalamazoo County after a one-year absence — a move Rachowicz credited largely to the expansion.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the county board approved a contract under which the parks department will get $10,167 for hosting the dog show from June 15-19.
Contact Gabrielle Russon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-388-8412
Related topics: John Zull
Kalamazoo County fairground expansion work set to begin
Published: Monday, January 17, 2011, 11:30 AM Updated: Monday, January 17, 2011, 11:32 AM
KALAMAZOO — Work to expand and renovate the Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground could begin Jan. 24, Parks Director David Rachowicz said.
The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners Tuesday will consider a contract with Cornerstone Construction Management, of Portage, to build an addition to the expo center, making it nearly two-thirds bigger, and make improvements to the grounds.
The grounds work is expected to be completed by June 1.
The 34,830-square-foot expo center addition, which will include new concessions, restrooms and more event space, should be finished by Sept. 1.
Last January, Rachowicz told the county board the fairground expansion would cost $3 million.
But Cornerstone bid the project at $3.6 million, including $3.26 million for construction costs and $17,000 in architecture and engineering fees. Cornerstone was the lowest bidder among 12 companies.
The $600,000 increase is attributed to several factors, including more utility work and higher contingency costs, Rachowicz said.
To pay for the project, Rachowicz said the parks department will use $750,000 it has set aside as well as commercial financing, which will be paid off with proceeds from the county hotel tax.
The accommodation tax is a 5 percent fee tacked on to hotel bills in the county and generates about $200,000 annually for the parks department.
The $3.6 million plan also calls for demolition of the grandstand bathrooms and electrical improvements.
Workers will remove the horse track so the county can create more space for outdoor events, lights, paved drives and drains.
“It’s a huge piece of real estate on our property,” Rachowicz said of the 50 acres surrounding the horse track and field. “Currently, it’s not useable.”
The original plan also proposed construction of two pole barns to create about 10,000 square feet for outdoor events. Rachowicz said the pole barns on hold until the county can find a way to build them cheaper or achieve savings in the expo center project.
The improvements are expected to attract more events and generate $53,100 in new revenue this year, Rachowicz said. In five years, new revenue should increase to $100,900, he said.
Rachowicz said some event organizers — he declined to name them — have indicated interest in moving their shows to the fairground because of the improvements.
“It’s going to provide more floor space, which will increase the ability to attract some larger regional events,” he said.
Contact Gabrielle Russon at email@example.com or 269-388-8412.
Link To Kalamazoo County Parks & Fairgrounds News Articlehttp://www.kalcounty.com/parks/news.php?id=631
SITE PLAN PDF FILES & RENDERINGS
NEW EXHIBIT ROOM FLOOR PLANhttp://www.kalcounty.com/userfiles/parks/f...ev%20011311.pdf
OVERALL FAIRGROUNDS SITE PLAN, MAY NEED TO ZOOM IN WHEN NEEDEDhttp://www.kalcounty.com/userfiles/parks/f...ev%20011311.pdf