County Fairgrounds to Hit Funding Jackpot

Foreclosures on the Rise in Teller

Rick Langenberg

With the help of Newmont Mining and the prospects of future state grants, the Teller County Fairgrounds, the host of the county’s annual fair and many 4-H youth programs, could soon experience major improvements.


Moreover, the aging and historic facility, located off Teller One, could bustle with more activity in the near future and cater to more groups.


At last week’s regular county commissioners meeting, government officials and Newmont representatives announced the awarding of  a $50,000 contribution for the use of monies to enhance the Fairgrounds facility. Also, more plans are underway to expand the use of the facility for other nonprofits, and by the city of Cripple Creek.


Newmont officials last week cited their commitment to 4-H programs in Teller County and to  the fairgrounds as a viable community project it wants to support.


This $50,000 contribution is just stage one, as the Fairgrounds could garner more Great Outdoor Colorado grants and more of a “buy-in,” by the city of Cripple Creek, according to a recent community action plan approved by the City Council. The plan followed a several-day forum in  Cripple Creek last March, and has appeared to attract more attention by city leaders and preliminary candidates for council seats in this November election.


A few of the enhancements cited specifically deal with better viewing opportunities for equestrian and rodeo competitions, and making the facility ADA compliant and a pursing a slew of possible improvements, such as grand stand additions. Plus, talk has persisted about opening the stage for more events there.


The news couldn’t have come at a better time.


The fairgrounds was cited during a recent several-day form in Cripple Creek on reaping more benefits from the region’s asset of great recreational opportunities. During the final day of discussion, much attention turned to enhancing recreational opportunities at the fairgrounds, so it could be used more by Cripple Creek Parks and Recreation Department and by the school district.


The annual county fair is scheduled to  kick off on July 29 and extend until August 6, with early projections indicating that the event could do well this year.


The slated improvements could most notably result in increasing visitation to the fair, which has grown in popularity in the last few years.


Fairgrounds Emerges as Major Focus in Community  Action Plan

In a community action plan, compiled by graduate students of Colorado University at the direction of area civic leaders, the fairgrounds was mentioned as an under-used facility with great potential. “The fairground property is underutilized, and its use could tackle many recreation wants and needs in Cripple Creek,” stated the authors of a community action plan, highlighting recreational goals in the CC/V district. “The property is not up for sale by Teller County, but there could be further discussion about the city of Cripple Creek utilizing the property for community  (non-tourism) needs. It is close to the school, which diversifies recreational options for youth. It also has indoor and outdoor facilities, which addresses year-round recreational opportunities. Much of the physical infrastructure is already in place, such as parking.”


The facility could net some possible future grants by GOCO, according to a GOCO representative who attended the spring recreational forum. Chris Aaby, the southern Front Range GOCO Program Officer, hopes to connect the city of Cripple Creek with GOCO grants that are specific to fairground revitalization.


The community action plan hopes to achieve more tangible results for the fairground facility within the next 12 months.

At last week’ commissioners meeting, optimism ran high  regarding increasing the use of the fairgrounds’ facility, which is overseen by the fair board.


Foreclosures on the Rise

In other county news, Teller County Treasurer and Public Trustee Mark Czelusta, announced that foreclosures are slightly on the rise, but have not approached any levels of concern He estimates that annually Teller Count could hit an annual foreclosure rate that ranges between 45 to 55.


“That is kind of where we were last year,” said the treasurer.


In fact, he said most people who are experiencing foreclosure action locally are going away with reams of cash.  “They are walking away with a significant amount of money,” said Czelusta, at last week’s meeting.


He said the interest rate hikes have played a role in recent real estate sales declines and interest in refinancing properties.


Still, Czelusta expressed much optimism about the market activity situation in Teller County. “People are coming (to Teller County)  more than ever before,” said the treasurer.