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Record South Whidbey INSIDE Boogie with your sweeheart See...A10 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014 | Vol. 90, No. 9 | | 75¢ Fair officials look to brighter future Revitalization proposal calls for major overhaul, organizational changes Ben Watanabe / The Record The Island County Fairgrounds in Langley may look totally different in coming years, as radical changes to the property and its management are proposed. By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record A proposal to make the Island County Fairgrounds more viable calls for the demolition of more than half of the facility’s 27 buildings. The swine/cat barn, dog kennels and many more would all be torn down to make way for newer, more efficient structures, according to a plan developed by fair officials, local government representatives and a consultant. The best known and historically significant buildings, such as the Pole Building would remain, as would the Fiddle Faddle Barn, though it’s slated for relocation to the east side of the grounds. Maintaining the 27 facilities at the Island County Fairgrounds has become too costly, and a major overhaul of the space may yield better returns, a steering committee of fair and community leaders have concluded. The hope is that by renovating the buildings and reducing some facilities, the space will be better utilized and can be used year-round. For the past several months, Whidbey Island Area Fair officials have looked at changing their role with the county-owned fairgrounds and some of the decades-old structures. The solution was presented to the Langley City Council last week as a precursor to open houses on the proposed changes planned in February and March. Overhauling the fair, including changing the property’s name to the Island Event Center, came with an estimated $10.12 million price tag and a plan to spread the cost over four phases and 10 years. “Expecting a four-day event to take care of the other 361 days creates an imbalance,” said Norm Landerman-Moore, of Anacortesbased Landerman-Moore Associates. A paid consultant, he was hired last year to evaluate the fair and create a strategic plan. Tantamount to the overhaul is reducing the 12.8-acre grounds’ 27 facilities to 12, cutting by more than half the amount of heating and other overhead costs. One reason for demolishing 15 structures at the fairgrounds, said Landerman-Moore, was their “state of Darting animal causes accident Home prices see small jump in 2013; economists predict good year By JUSTIN BURNETT South Whidbey Record On the heels of a four-year downward slide, homes values in Island County may be showing signs of true and lasting recovery. The cost of a median single-family home rose for the second year in a row, from $249,900 in 2011 to $250,000 in 2012 and $255,000 last year, according to the Northwest Multiple Listing Service. And while the 2013 increase is a rise of just 2 percent, economists are hailing the pattern as good news. It’s an indication that the descending spiral of home values across the state since the housing market burst in 2008 is finally be over, said Glen Crellin, associate director for SEE HOME VALUES, A9 SEE FAIRGROUNDS, A3 By BEN WATANABE South Whidbey Record Ben Watanabe / The Record A power pole on Ewing Road was snapped in half Tuesday after it was hit by a delivery truck. A FedEx Home Delivery driver veered off Ewing Road in Clinton and head-on into a power pole Tuesday morning. South Whidbey Fire/EMS Deputy Chief Mike Cotton said the driver swerved to avoid striking an animal and drove SEE ACCIDENT, A3

South Whidbey Record, January 29, 2014

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