Concerns about Bolado Park master plan prompt meeting

A rider gets tossed during the bareback bronc event of the 2011 rodeo at Bolado Park.

Concerns surrounding a tabled proposal for a Bolado Park master plan have prompted residents and Community Vision San Benito to hold a town hall-style meeting next weekend.

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Bolado Park 4-H building, and residents are welcome at the event.

The 33rd District Agricultural Association has tabled plans to develop a master plan for the Bolado Park Fairgrounds after the park’s Heritage Foundation put on hold plans to fund the anticipated $20,000 cost of the project.

The district received two bids for the development of the plan, which board member Ann Hall has said is important to the fair because “there is a lot of infrastructure that is failing or has gaps, so we want to make sure that whatever money we have gets spent on long-term needs. It’s important in terms of fiduciary responsibility to have a plan of where we want the park to go. It also gives the heritage board a vehicle to approach donors if we have a good master plan.”

The fair board, at its meeting in December, asked Hall to look into other potential funding for the master plan project.

Resident Joy Law, one of the organizers of Saturday’s town hall meeting, said some people were upset because the district board had plans to hire an out-of-town consultant, Roseville-based RCH Group.

“That kind of got us a little stirred up with the economy going the way it is,” Law said. “Do we want to ship this out of town to a company I think we can’t afford or do we want to use local people?”

Law noted that the vision group will facilitate the meeting.

The controversy over use of limited funds at Bolado Park comes in light of the state eliminating nearly $200,000 in annual funding for county fairs. It has threatened the future of the annual San Benito County event, along with the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show & Rodeo and about 200 other gatherings that bring more than 100,000 people to Bolado Park each year.

“It is an issue, if enough people don’t get fired up about this, it may shut down,” Law said. “What a pity. There goes the fair. There goes the saddle horse show.”

Look back for more on this story.

Leave your comments