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Placer Valley Tourism to unveil @ the Grounds

More than $10M in renovations made to 60-acre fairground site
By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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What happens when you take a time worn 60-acre fairground, stir in $10 million and toss it around for 304 days? You get a shining new addition to Placer County, known as @ the Grounds that will be an asset to the city of Roseville and Placer County.

Next Tuesday, Placer Valley Tourism officials and numerous Placer County leaders will proudly showcase the facility to show the community what has become of this project through the unique collaboration of both Placer County and Placer Valley Tourism.

On Wednesday afternoon, workers were busy throughout the 60-acre site at on All American City Boulevard, just off of Washington Street.  Placer Valley Tourism CEO David Attaway took The Press Tribune on a tour of the facility that will be unveiled to the public this Tuesday.

“This is a pretty exciting time for us and an exciting time for Placer County,” said Attaway, as he walked across the new sidewalks while crews were installing the final section of new lush sod throughout an area that was once populated with worn, unappealing asphalt. “So much has been done here to transform this facility and there is still so much more ahead.”

In July 2017, a 35-year management agreement was signed between Placer Valley Tourism and Placer County to take over the Fairground. Shortly thereafter, renovations on the existing buildings as well as landscaping enhancements and other improvements began.

Local architectural firm Williams and Paddon worked  on much of the design for the project and Roebbelen Contracting, Inc. of El Dorado Hills has overseen construction management at the site.  

The work completed in the last year is apparent to anyone who had previously seen the ailing condition of the facility.  Beautiful wood beams have been uncovered inside Jones Hall, and on the outside, turquoise Gladding McBean titles that had been previously painted over are now fully refurbished, making the 11,000-square-foot building shine.

Additional completed enhancements include a digital marquee, new landscaping along Washington Boulevard, paving of the south-end parking lot, upgrades to the multi-use barns, addition of new walkways throughout the complex, renovations of the kitchens and completion of more than 20 much-needed repairs.

Along with the multimillion-dollar transformation, officials have rebranded the facility as @ the grounds.  The new name serves to incorporate the diverse types of events that are hosted at the site every year, including the upcoming Placer County Fair, and will better reflect the new era of this 80-year county property. 

“Whether it be dog shows @ the grounds, the Placer County Fair @ the grounds or a host of other events @ the grounds, we believe the name is an optimal fit for the modern facilities and events that will soon emerge here,” Attaway explained.

Gabrielle Stevenson, a Placer County native and experienced industry professional, has been named as the facility’s general manager.  Stevenson has been instrumental in setting up operations for the new facility.
“Gabrielle transformed a struggling events center in Texas into a premier destination in the greater Dallas area,” Attaway said.  “We are thrilled to have her return to Northern California and have confidence in her ability to make @ the grounds the premier regional destination for all types of events.”

Joining Stevenson @ the grounds will be  Cheryl Goldfarb as director of sales, Garrett Sucatre as facility operations manager and Carrie Fankhauser as the business office manager.

Next Tuesday, Placer County Tourism and Placer County will reveal the new facility to the community. From 10 to 11 a.m. a special event will take place for local media and community leaders to learn about the project and to take a tour. That evening, the event will be open for a public viewing from 5 to 7 p.m.

During the private morning event, Placer County and Placer Valley Tourism officials will discuss how this collaboration became a success for the community.  Attaway will be among the many speakers along with Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross, Placer County Supervisors Jim Holmes and Jack Duran, Placer Valley Tourism Board Chair Heather Hilton and  Placer County Deputy Director Mark Rideout.

Many officials will be on site during the evening reception in which the public is encouraged to attend. 

“We want the community to come out and see what we have done here. They are going to love it,” he added.

One of the first big events will be the Placer County Fair that is scheduled from June 21 through June 24 and promises to bring a hometown-feel back to the facility.

The event is  appropriately themed “Renew Love of Fair.”  Additional negotiations are underway for improvements and operation of the speedway. In the near future, officials hope to break ground on a new events center that has been proposed on site.  Watch for more information on all of these upcoming events in The Press Tribune.