Representatives from the Portland, Ore.-based consultant firm Crandall Arambula returned to Missoula last night to put a dollar figure on an extensive improvement project at the Western Montana Fairgrounds. If the fairgrounds remains in its present location, the project will cost roughly $19.6 million.
Fair Manager Scot Meader says Crandall Arambula also released information on three alternative locations for the fairgrounds, favoring a 75-acre site off Mullan Road near Missoula International Airport that the firm valued at $30 million. None of the three relocation sites overlap with sites recently reviewed by Midwest consulting firm Hunden Strategic Partners for the separate Missoula Events Center project.
“It’s a very emotional piece of property,” Meader told the Independent. “We’re planning for the next 100 years.”
Meader says one of Crandall Arambula’s two principals, George Crandall, did mention Hunden’s recent recommendation that the the Interstate 90 corridor, not the fairgrounds, is the optimal location for any future events center. Crandall Arambula accomodated the potential for an events center in two conceptual designs of the fairgrounds project, and the Missoulian quoted Crandall as saying he would have been “relieved” had Hunden more closely examined the fairgrounds location.