Jeff Green | Feb 03, 2005
Feature Article February 3 2005
Feature article February 3, 2005LAND O' LAKES NewsWeb Home
Contact UsKingston Fair Board considering a move to South Frontenacby Jeff Green
By setting out a request for proposal for a Site Feasibility and Market Study, the Kingston and District Agricultural Society is preparing for a move out of their home in Kingston, looking to take the Kingston Fair to a location in South Frontenac somewhere between Highway 38 and Highway 15 according to Gerry Grooms of the Society.
In a section of the request for proposal document about the background of the project, the Agricultural Society sums up its understanding of the current plans of the City of Kingston as regards the fair grounds in this way: The City of Kingston has indicated that they wish to redevelop the current site into a residential neighbourhood to help finance the proposed Large Venue Entertainment Centre (LVEC) for downtown Kingston. The LVEC proposal does not include the Agricultural Society in the plans As the holder of a perpetual lease on the site that the City intends to sell, the Agricultural Society is expecting to receive compensation for the demolition of their buildings and the loss of use of the site.
The LVEC has been a major priority of Kingston Mayor Harvey Rosen since he was elected just over year ago.
According to what you read in the Kingston paper every day, its all but done. Theyre trying to push us out of the Kingston Fairgrounds and not give us anything, said Gerry Grooms, but we do have lawyers working on it. Still, there has been talk of moving the Fair out to the country for years. Calling the upcoming move an opportunity to get back to the grass roots of the fair, the Agricultural Society is seeking offers by a consultant to prepare a business plan, explore various membership/partnership models for a new facility, which might house a farmers market, provide a permanent home for the Frontenac Ploughing Match, and include a banquet/meeting facility, an equestrian centre and perhaps recreational facilities as well.
They are also looking for a market study to determine if there are sufficient numbers of consumers available to come to events at a year round fairgrounds facility.
In order to fund this site and market study, the Kingston and District Agricultural Society applied for a grant from the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC) through the Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Gerry Grooms said that the Agricultural Society is still waiting to hear from the FCFDC, but they had been looking favourably on our application. It seems the grant, for a reported $50,000, is coming through, because the Agricultural Societys request for proposal was posted on the FCFDC website late last week.
Gerry Grooms thinks the possibility of establishing a Fair in South Frontenac will complement some recent initiatives, such as the successful Feast of Fields event, a showcase for organically grown food, which was held last Fall at the Cumpson Farm near Inverary. Grooms is a retired farmer himself, from the Sydenham area. The family farm is now run by his daughter and son in-law who produce organic milk along with other farm products.