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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Deer Park Fair finds new home

Jennifer Sudick Staff writer

The 95th annual Deer Park Community Fair is revving up for its last season at the Deer Park Fairgrounds.

Ground was broken several weeks ago for a 10,000-square-foot business complex there. The project is being built on one of 12 acres purchased in November by WAM Enterprises, Inc., of Spokane. No development can be started on the remaining 11 acres until after November 30, the deadline for the fair association to move equipment off the property after this year’s fair, which will be held Aug. 26-28.

Fair manager Janice Purdy said the City of Deer Park had leased the land, at 501 South Main, to the fair for years at no cost in exchange for upkeep of the grounds. In May 2004, the fair association renewed its lease with the city for 25 years. The contract provided for $250,000 to help relocate the fairgrounds if an unsolicited purchase of the land was approved by the Deer Park City Council. The sale to WAM was announced November 17.

“Progress has arrived in Deer Park, I guess,” Purdy said. “We’re leaving with no hard feelings.”

The 12-member volunteer fair association rejected a suggestion by the city that the fair move to 15 acres of land within city limits. Purdy said that land had been used as a dump, was in a 100-year floodplain and sat in the flight path of an airport.

“We did some research and decided that we needed to keep looking,” she said.

Starting next August, the Deer Park Community Fair will be held on a 20-acre parcel of land bought for $70,000 outside Clayton, Wash., in Stevens County, three miles away from its current location. The fair association is in negotiations to purchase an adjoining 10 acres to increase parking availability. The association is using money from the relocation settlement to pay for the properties.

Deer Park Mayor Michael Wolfe said the relocation money will come from the $625,000 WAM paid for the fair’s current site. Wolfe said much of the land was originally given to the city or purchased for $1 an acre in the 1940s.

“Because that property is developing commercially, other property will develop,” he said. “Normally that starts a chain of events. Others looked at it, and maybe they were afraid to take that first step. WAM has taken that first step.”

Bruce Miller, vice president of WAM, said he would sell the remaining 11 acres immediately after the property is turned over to him by the fair association. He said more than half of the business complex, to be completed in September, already has been leased to undisclosed tenants.

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