New Management for the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds
On October 24th, the Petaluma City Council voted to take property management control of the fairgrounds from the state and give it to Petaluma. The City Council unanimously voted to transition the 55 acre property’s maintenance, management and sub-leasing agreements from the state run 4th District Agricultural Association to city management. The Association has leased the property from Petaluma for $1 per year for the past 50 years.
The vote included an amendment which was put forth by Mayor Teresa Barrett that at least 20 acres of the property will be dedicated to the annual five day Sonoma-Marin Fair and will ensure space for evacuation center purposes.
The decision was not without controversy. The meeting agenda was labeled “Fairgrounds Workshop” but was revised on Friday afternoon to include an actionable resolution. CEO Tawny Tesconi, a member of the Agricultural Association, was disappointed in the process.
The non-profit Healthy Democracy was hired by the city to assemble a panel of locals through a lottery process which then met multiple times to work out suggested future uses of the fairgrounds. Ms. Tesconi’s stated that so much of what Healthy Democracy is promoting for the site is what the 4th District Agricultural Association does.
There are a number of visions for the site. Many issues and ideas will have to be worked out. Of course, the cost of some of the plans and ideas will affect ultimate decisions.
I want my children to have all the things I couldn’t afford. Then I want to move in with them. Phyllis Diller