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Three County Fairgrounds Construction



The Three County Fair has begun demolition of the old horse barns at the Fairgrounds. Construction of three new 100 stall barns will begin immediately. Raymond Duda, President of the Three County Fair Redevelopment Corporation noted that this is the beginning of Phase 1 of the redevelopment project for the Fairgrounds. The Three County Fair Redevelopment Corporation is a partnership of the Fair, City of Northampton and the Northampton Chamber of Commerce. The overall master plan for the Fairgrounds was developed by Bullock, Smith and Partners of Knoxville, Tennessee and the Berkshire Design Group of Northampton, Mass. The overall master plan is to be done three phases over 10 to15 years, with total estimated costs to be approximately $36 million.

Phase 1 of the project will cost approximately $4 million and is funded by a grant through the

Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources. Lt. Governor Tim Murray made the announcement of the grant at this year’s fair. The grant was secured through a state government bond bill earmark offered by Sen. Stan Rosenberg and supported by Rep. Peter Kocot. The plans and design of the new barns was done by Kuhn Riddle architects of Amherst, Massachusetts. Each new barn will have 100 stalls with wash racks and other amenities. The center of the three barns will include an office and a blacksmith shop. The site design and permitting was performed by Berkshire Design Group of Northampton.

The construction of the new barns will be done by Kurtz, Inc. of Westfield, Mass. and all of the listed subcontractors are local to Western Massachusetts. The construction will create many jobs in this hard hit segment of the economy.

Bruce Shallcross, General Manager of the Three County Fair noted that construction of the new barns and other improvements to the grounds will enable the Fair to retain its current horse show schedule of approximately 14-16 horse shows.

The New England Morgan Horse Show is the largest horse event regularly hosted by the Fairgrounds. This event brings approximately 1,000 horses and thousands of competitors to the Northampton area each year. The Show has been held at the Three County Fairgrounds for the past 75 years.

Other horse shows range in size from 150 to 500 horses and include; Quarter Horses, Paint, Hunter/Jumpers, Reining and Arabian horse shows. A recent study of the economic impact of the Fairgrounds on the Northampton area by Convention and Sports Leisure of Minneapolis, estimated the direct spending impact of the Fairgrounds to be 18.5 million, total economic output to be approximately 26.9 million.

Employment, full time and part-time generated by the fair activities is estimated at 377 jobs. Northampton Mayor Clare Higgins stated "We are thrilled that barn construction is getting underway. Providing safe and modern barns is essential to the equestrian shows currently operating at the Fairgrounds. We want to keep that core business coming into the Fairgrounds and into our region."

"This is just the beginning of a new era for the 3-County Fairgrounds, said Suzanne Beck, Executive Director of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce, "Construction of the new barns will be critical to retaining events at the Fairgrounds and attracting new ones. This would not have been possible without the investment of more than $400,000 in public and private funds by the Fair Association members, the business community, the Chamber, the City, the Federal Government and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts who have joined together in their support for the redevelopment."

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