County commissioners approved Tuesday the last of three major leases that support traditional full-time, year-round use of Teton County Fairgrounds through 2026.
One is the fairgrounds lease, the second is the ground lease for the Exhibit Hall and the grassy area south of Snow King Avenue. The third is the Rodeo Grounds Management Agreement.
With all major leases now on the same timeline, set to terminate at the end of 2026, the Jackson Hole Rodeo and the Teton County Fair have a path to stay the same for the next four years.
But the ground lease for the Exhibit Hall includes an option for the county to terminate the agreement on 30 days’ notice.
A 48-unit, 84-bedroom housing project at 400 W. Snow King, the area now occupied by the Exhibit Hall and the grassy area south of Snow King Avenue, is planned for the site.
The town and county’s affordable housing proposal with Snow King Partners and Blueline Development is now waiting to hear back on their applications for federally subsidized funding, set to be announced this month.
Depending on the funding source, affordable housing will be available to those with either less than 45% of the county’s median family income or less than 60%, according to a housing department staff report. The census recorded the town of Jackson’s median household income from 2015-2019 at $73,411.
“If [housing] is approved and the funding is secured they could break ground as early as this spring,” Teton County Fair and Fairgrounds Manager Rachel Grimes said in an email.
Exhibit Hall users like Fair Board, various 4-H clubs, Jackson Hole Juggernauts Roller Derby, and Parks and Rec’s cornhole league are moving into the building that temporarily houses the Fire and EMS station after renovations of Fire Station One on Pearl Avenue are done near the end of March.
But before that space can be used for assembly by the public, there will have to be changes: A change to town zoning and possibly some construction.
“This process will take some time,” Grimes said. “And the hope is that the Exhibit Hall lease will stay in place until the new space is ready.”
4-H Director Glen Owings said he also remains hopeful that the schedule works out as it’s proposed and that he has a good amount of volunteers to help 4-H move its items when the time comes.
As for the rest of the fairgrounds location, elected officials of the Town and County will determine if the grounds will stay put or relocate when the ground lease terminates in 2026.
Chairwoman Natalia Macker said fairground relocation has yet to be placed on the agenda for the Board of County Commissioners.
“Relocating the fairgrounds is a lengthy and expensive undertaking; it will not happen overnight,” Grimes said. “If it is decided that the Fairgrounds should be relocated, that process should start happening sooner than later, rather than waiting until 12/31/2026.”
This housing project could be the beginning of a larger vision some elected officials have suggested for more of those central 12 acres to become workforce housing.
Last month 100 people gathered for a Save the Rodeo Grounds Town Hall to adamantly oppose moving Jackson’s hub for agricultural and visitor attraction.
“Relocating the fairgrounds is a lengthy and expensive undertaking; it will not happen overnight.” — Rachel Grimes Teton County Fair and Fairgrounds Manager