GOCO grant big step in Ag Innovation Center effort at YC Fairgrounds
The Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) Board recently awarded Yuma County a $350,000 Local Park and Outdoor Recreation (LPOR) grant to make upgrades at the Yuma County Fairgrounds.
GOCO funds will help Yuma County make improvements to the livestock building, which has not been updated in several years and is in need of repair and improvements. The new construction will include a pre-engineered metal building to increase the current building envelope by 12,500 square feet. The livestock building will be open-air on one side and will include a relocated, larger animal wash area with proper drainage, as well as larger, ADA-compliant restrooms with showers.
The Yuma County Fairgrounds Project is part of the High Plains Event Center (also known as the Ag Innovation Center of Northeast Colorado) plans that began as a grassroots effort brought to life by local farmers and ranchers who recognized the needs of the fairgrounds. By renovating the livestock building, the county can provide a better experience for 4-H, Future Farmers of America (FFA), and community members using the facility.
The 103-year-old Yuma County Fairgrounds hosts approximately 100 events throughout the year, including the Colorado Junior Rodeo, Turn N’ Burn barrel race for breast cancer awareness, 4-H horse and livestock shows, FFA’s kiddie barnyard petting farm, Colorado State University Extension educational events, and industry trainings and conferences. The annual event most celebrated, however, is the Yuma County Fair, typically held the first full week of August.
The Weld County Youth Conservation Corps crew will demolish current structures in need of replacement and construct animal pens for the expanded facility. Construction is expected to take three months, and the fairgrounds will celebrate a grand re-opening in August 2019 in time for the Yuma County Fair.
To date, GOCO has invested more than $3.8 million in projects in Yuma County and has conserved more than 25,400 acres of land there. GOCO funding has supported the conservation of Shaw Ranch, Chief Creek Dam Repairs, Eckley’s Skate Park, and Liberty School’s playground, among other projects.
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers, and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a constitutional amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 5,200 projects in all 64 counties of Colorado without any tax dollar support. Visit GOCO.org for more information.