Fair Association to take over management of Fairgrounds Park
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – On May 1, the Central Wisconsin State Fair (CWSF) Association will take over management of Fairgrounds Park.
“The Park & Recreation Department and the city of Marshfield are going to turn management of what they call Marshfield Fairgrounds Park over to the Fair Association,” said CWSF Executive Director Dale Christiansen. “By doing such, it is going to clear up a lot of problems that we had with scheduling and double-booking, and that type of thing.
“… the Fair Association, in the past, had no reason to bring in anything else non-fair season, because any money raised non-fair season went to the city. By turning management over to us, then we are in charge and proceeds from anything will come into the Fair Association.”
Christiansen said that all entities hope this will result in “more utilization in a year-round fashion.”
“It’s been agreed that on the first of May the Fair Association will be taking over the bookings and everything that goes on at the park and overseeing the management,” Christiansen added.
“The idea of transferring the management of the entire fairgrounds properties to the CWSF Association came about over a series of meetings and discussions with representatives between the city, Fairgrounds Commission, and Fair Association,” said Marshfield Parks & Recreation Department Executive Director Justin Casperson. “The sale of the Fair Association property to the city in 2016 was the catalyst for discussions. Both parties want to ensure the Fair Association and the fair itself are correctly positioned for the future.”
Casperson said that transferring management will mean that the city is relieved of the maintenance duties associated with the park.
“However, the work is not burdensome nor a reason why the transition occurred,” he said. “The most significant benefits are for the CWSF Association. The goals are to provide them with all the tools they may need to make their organization more sustainable; improve clarity and communication for users; provide the Fair Association with additional revenue streams; and attract larger events to the community.”
The development of the agreement occurred during a series of meetings between the department and the fair organizations.
“The city will pay the CWSF Association $75,000 per year to manage and maintain the buildings and grounds,” Casperson said. “The agreement is good for three years concluding at the end of 2020.”
The three-year period is a trial period to see how it works for all involved. During this time, the CWSF Association will be responsible for maintenance, upkeep, scheduling, and insurance at the park.