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RENDERING: Fairgrounds to include new commercial corridor along Hwy. 160

Updated May 30, 2024 - 1:46 pm

Over the past 10 years, development at the Pahrump Fairgrounds has been at a slow trickle but it won’t be that way for much longer. Thanks to a clarification of policy by the Bureau of Land Management, the town is now looking to lease a portion of that property for commercial enterprises. It’s a move intended to infuse millions of additional dollars into the project and ultimately speed up development.

Nye County and town of Pahrump Manager Tim Sutton told Nye County commissioners during their May 21 meeting that he was excited to make the announcement.

“BLM recently said that if we lease [fairgrounds] property and guarantee that those monies will directly or indirectly benefit the property, we can proceed with leasing… That’s huge, it’s the biggest news we’ve had since we got this property.”

The town of Pahrump acquired the 427-acre fairgrounds parcel through a Congressional Land Patent in September 1999. Under that patent, the lands are to be used solely for the purpose of establishing the Pahrump Fairgrounds. The patent includes a reversionary interest clause stating that the town would have to turn the land back over to the federal government if it ever attempts to sell or transfer it to another owner or use it for any purpose other than a fairgrounds.

Officials aimed to have that reversionary clause removed to clear the way for commercial businesses on the property but now, removal of that clause is no longer necessary. The town will submit its updated plan of development to the BLM with a sizable section of the property allocated for commercial leasing.

Sutton was quick to assure that despite allotments for commercial land, this wouldn’t impede on the existing plans for the fairgrounds features.

“That still gives us plenty of room for the other contemplated uses that have been envisioned over the years,” Sutton stated, calling attention to the various elements incorporated into the new plan of development. To date, these include the off-highway vehicle park, 12 baseball diamonds, several soccer and football fields, the proposed Nye County Civic Center, a rodeo and agricultural events center and an oval dirt racetrack to replace the former Pahrump Speedway.

Nye County Commission Chair Debra Strickland, who has been championing the associated civic center proposal, emphasized that the commercial lands would be leased, not sold.

“What we’re after is residual income,” Strickland said.

As it stands today, Sutton acknowledged that there really isn’t much for a person visiting the fairgrounds site to see, with only a parking lot at the Fireworks Safety Site and a small amount of construction. However, a large amount of preparation and infrastructural work has been accomplished, with Community Development Block Grant investment in the property already well over $1 million.

Commissioner Donna Cox homed in on the CDBG program’s contributions, remarking that she was delighted to see that as she was one of the proponents behind bringing that program to Nevada.

“There’s a water and well system, there’s a sewer and wastewater system, there was an environmental assessment which is very expensive, there is a drainage study and flood control design plan and a detention basin,” Cox enumerated. “So we already have over $1 million ( in CDBG dollars) invested in it and I just want people to know, yes, we have been moving forward. It hasn’t just been sitting there stagnant.”

“They aren’t very visible but they are very important projects for the development of the entire fairgrounds,” Sutton concurred.

Strickland added that the town has also received yet another round of CDBG funds that would provide for power and a secondary water well.

According to the presentation provided by Sutton on May 21, the Pahrump Fairgrounds Fund has $8.3 million in available funds. Of that amount, $2.4 million is from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act dollars; $1 million comes from a congressionally funded projects allocation; $3.7 million has been collected through Fireworks Safety Site permit sales and room tax disbursement; and $1.2 million was transferred using the town of Pahrump’s ending fund balance. Any revenue generated by leasing fairgrounds property for commercial development would also go into the fund.

Strickland made the motion to approve the updated plan of development which passed 5-0.

To view the presentation on the updated plan visit NyeCountyNV.gov. The item is available as part of the Nye County Commission’s May 21 agenda.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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