COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The City of Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission met Thursday to discuss possible renovations for the former Boone County Fairgrounds.
Michael MacMann member of the commission said the meeting was to apply a permanent zoning classification for the property. The classification is entitled O for open space so that future improvement of the site for expansion of public park usage can be streamlined.
The O-zoning would permit public parks, community gardens, playgrounds, schools, and other community-oriented or public service facilities.
The site located northeast of the interchange of Brown School Road and Highway 63 and is currently zoned County M-L (Light Industrial).
The city took over the 135 acres of land after the Boone County Commission transferred ownership to be used for recreation and entertainment purposes while under the management of the Parks and Recreation Department.
MacMann said the space will come under the control of the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department where they may decide to put administration buildings out there in the future along with the current plans for a public park. There are current plans for a recreation complex, including track and field and other sports amenities.
"The area needs a lot of love. It is worn down and hasn't been maintained," said MacMann.
A map of the development given in May 2020 shows five synthetic turf fields, four baseball/softball fields and an eight-lane track facility, as well as two large shelters with inclusive playgrounds.
Twenty-nine acres of the land will be used by the Boone County Fair Board. MacMann said they have not held the county fair at the location for several years and they hope to bring it back to the area.
The city controls the land northeast of Highway 63 and Oakland Gravel Road, which is near both Bear Creek Trail and Henson Creek Trail.
MacMann said the buildings on the property are not in good condition and he believes the county was having a difficult time maintaining it financially before the city took over.
According the Boone County Fair President, Jeff Cook, the fair has plans on returning to the location in July 2021 after being cancelled last year due to the pandemic, and being held in Sturgeon.
"We're doing our paperwork now with the City of Columbia and Boone County health department. We have everything ready to go to city council for approval," said Cook.
Cook said he hopes to go through the council in May and get approved to plan to hold the fair at the location July 20-24.
"Once we come back this year, that's going to be our permanent home from now on," said Cook. He said they are excited to continue the event in Columbia where it needs to be.