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County fair at a new site?

The Douglas County Fair at a new location?

Believe it or not, it could very well happen.

But not any time soon.

The group that operates the fair, the Douglas County Agricultural Association, has a lease with the city of Alexandria to use the city-owned fairgrounds property.

The lease is set to expire in 2035.

The association has approached the city about the possibility of extending the lease but the council isn't interested in doing so.

At the council's September 27 meeting, Mayor Dan Ness said it's "very unlikely" the city will extend the lease.

The fairgrounds property, which was at one time on the outskirts of the city, is now in a desirable location that could be used for other city purposes - although nothing specific has been proposed. The land is listed in the city's comprehensive plan as a "master planning area."

The association, meanwhile, is working with the Alexandria Area Stewards in reviewing and discussing future options for the fair, according to Marty Schultz, a Stewards member and assistant city administrator.

A task force is being formed to discuss possible sites for the fair after the lease ends. It's expected to include members of the association, an elected city official and city staff. The stewards will serve as facilitators for the process, Schultz said.

Mayor Ness asked Schultz why a city representative would be needed on the task force since the council isn't interested in extending the lease. Schultz said that the city representative could make that clear to the task force and relay what the city's long-term goals are for the fairgrounds property.

The council voted to appoint council member Sara Carlson to the task force, along with Schultz and City Planner Mike Weber.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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