Fair Board Meeting on Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 9 AM
Using Fairgrounds to Improve Access to Food in Our Communities

Three Master Site Plan Proposals to Make the OC Fairgrounds into a Convention & Expo Center

In September 2017, at the Fair Board meeting at 9 AM on a Thursday, when the majority of residents are at work or at school, the Fair Board presented three Master Site Plan proposals which move the OC Fairgrounds away from being a fairground and into being a convention center. This is a map of what we have now at the OC Fairgrounds:

Existing Facilities_Sept 17 Board

The least the Fair Board wants to build includes doubling the size of the Administration building and adding a 50,000 sq ft "Ag-Expo Hall".  Adding an expo hall which is about the size of a football field and which will be two or more stories tall is a lot of building to add, especially when the Fairgrounds can't rent out the space they already have. The Ag-Expo Hall may have the word "Ag" short for agriculture in the name, but this is whitewash and this 50,000 sq ft expo building is for convention and exposition use. 

The view of the entire site for Concept 1: "Minimal":

Minimal_Sept 17 Board

Close up of the Main Mall area for Concept 1: "Minimal":

Minimal_CentralCampus_Sept 17 Board

And here is what needs to be demolished to make Concept 1: "Minimal" work:

Minimal_Demolition_Sept 17 Board

A second proposal has the 50,000 sq ft expo building, which can grow to 125,000 sq ft. That is a building two or more stories high and about one to two and a half football fields in size.  A  40,000 sq ft "Educational Meeting Center" with a 20,000 sq ft ballroom is proposed behind Centennial Farm. There are no plans for an arts school at the Fairgrounds which would use the "Educational Meeting Center" for education. This building is another convention and expo building with a fancy name to distract you from what is being done. 

The view of the entire site for Concept 2: "Aspirational":

Aspirational_Sept 17 Board

A close up of the Main Mall for Concept 2: "Aspirational":

Aspirational_CentralCampus_Sept 17 Board

And what must be demolished to build Concept 2: "Aspirational":

Aspirational_Demolition_Sept 17 Board

There is more to be done in Concept 3: "Bold" which has the 40,000 sq ft building behind Centennial Farm, an expo hall between 75,000 sq ft and 150,000 sq ft, and a wind turbine farm  (WTF) in the parking lot next to Newport Blvd. The WTF extends along Newport Blvd to Fair Dr.  This proposal has between 115,000 sq ft to 190,000 sq ft of new buildings, which is about two and a half to nearly four football fields of space. It is not clear why all of  this new space is needed because much of the space currently at the Fairgrounds sits unused much of the time. No member of the Public asked for the WTF, but the Board wants the WTF. If the Board didn't want this plan, why would the Board direct this plan to be drawn, right?

The entire site for Concept 3: "Bold":

Bold_Sept 17 Board

Close up of the Main Mall for Concepts 3: "Bold":

Bold_CentralCampus_Sept 17 Board

And what needs to be demolished to construct Concept 3: "Bold" with the WTF:

Bold_Demolition_Sept 17 Board

The whole presentation at the September 2017 Board meeting is here in two parts because the files are large:

Download Sept 17 Board Master Site Plan Presentation Part-1

Download Sept 17 Board Master Site Plan Presentation Part-2


The Board has refused to provide the Public, who own the Orange County Fairgrounds, with substantive information about what is being done on the Master Site Plan since the September 2017 presentation of these proposals. Work continues to move the Master Site Plan forward, to flesh out concepts and to figure out how much money the Fairgrounds is going to make from these plans, but the Fair Board only states that they are meeting in backrooms to make decisions which the Fair Board refuses to let the Public participate in the process or to see what is being done to the property the Public owns. 


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