Letter of Support For The Fairgrounds

Dear Editor:

We, William O. Hunter, Annette McGee, Tom Taylor, Ed Johnston, John Eager, Laura Porter, Joel Myer, John Bolender, Marv Faughender, Herb Baze, Jayni Kamin, Ross Gallagher and Steve Bloomfield, former Mason County Commissioners from the past fifty years are Friends of the Fairgrounds.  During our terms in office, we worked diligently to improve the area for the entire community to use.  We truly believe that leaving it at its present location makes good common sense for the taxpayers of our County.

Over fifty years ago, community minded Port and County officials, with the concurrence of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) placed the fair facility in its current location in order to insure its permanency.  History tells us that the Fairgrounds was in the proximity of the airport before the Navy took it over during WWII.

When the War was over, the area was returned to the citizens of Mason County.  However, the new Fairgrounds could not have been built on the exact property donated for a County Fair by the Miller family in l926 because war time development had covered that ground with aviation facilities.

History also tells us that our elected officials, along with the FAA, determined that the ground south of the runway remained vacant as it had been before the Navy took it over.  Because no taxiway served that part of Sanderson Field, the property has never had an aeronautical use.  Thus, a decision was made to build our County Fairgrounds.

It makes no sense to consider moving or replacing the Fairgrounds because what we have is what the community has been able to afford over the years.  It could use some refurbishment, but as Friends of the Fairgrounds, we are not ashamed of it.  It has served our community well and has been a valuable asset to youth development for generations.

The Port of Shelton Commissioners and their Director should defend the citizens against the pressures of the FAA to destroy something that was built by taxpayer dollars and donations from the community.

While the terms of the original deed may give the FAA some say in how the property may be used, actual ownership is vested in the Port of Shelton Taxing District.  The Fairgrounds property has never been put into service for any aeronautical need and furthermore, no future aeronautical need has been defined.

We understand that part of the $700,000 per year local tax burden goes to support the airport along with other additional funding coming from leases and fees that are generated from airport property.  These local monies which are used to support the airport far exceed occassional FAA grant contributions for upkeep and improvements.  Therefore, the Port Commissioners and their Director should be defending the citizens of our area against the FAA.

The FAA had no objections to using the property for a Fairgrounds in l963, and we say that they still should have no objections today, because there is no identified aeronautical need for the property.

We, as former Mason County Commissioners from the past fifty years, who are still  working for the citizens of our County, intend to work toward convincing the Port Commission and the FAA that leaving the Fairgrounds where it is makes good common sense that will benefit our community, our economy, the Port, and the airport in the long run.

Sincerely,

William O. Hunter, Annette McGee, Tom Taylor, Ed Johnston, John Eager, Laura Porter, Joel Myer, Jayni Kamin, John Bolender, Marv Faughender, Herb Baze, Ross Gallagher,  and Steve Bloomfield