Letter to the editor: Fairgrounds’ rental rates should not increase

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To the editor:

At the Feb. 7 meeting of the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds board of directors, an agenda item proposed significant increases in rental rates for venues at the site. This item was tabled pending more information as requested by the board and public. The proposal to as much as double rental fees for facilities at the fairgrounds is short-sighted.

Fairgrounds revenues over the past 10 years were adequate to result in a reserve balance of nearly $2 million. This suggests that under good management, the fair is solvent, with current rates. It was never intended as a profit center — this is not in the spirit of the community fairgrounds around the state.

The high level of facility usage by nonprofits, low-income and sometimes marginalized community members demonstrates that our fairgrounds is a key resource to locals. To double rates for such uses as quinceañeras, bingo, flower shows, dog training classes and so many other activities that bind our community will certainly drive these users elsewhere.

Is that the goal?

The intent should not be to extract the maximum dollars out of the users of our fairgrounds, but rather to make this wonderful facility available for use by all local community members.

Additionally, I join with many others to again request that the fair board consider evening meetings to allow for more community participation.

Friends of the fair: Please attend the next board meeting, Feb. 28 at 1:30 p.m. in person or via Zoom; details will be available on the fairgrounds’ website.


Mary Bannister