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Calistoga renews pursuit of financial options for Napa County Fairgrounds purchase

Calistoga renews pursuit of financial options for Napa County Fairgrounds purchase

From the Catch up on the Napa Valley news you may have missed this week series
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Tubbs building

The Tubbs Exhibit Building at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga was named after Chapin F. Tubbs, who was a fair director from 1936 to 1947.

With what looks like the worst of the pandemic over, and with a return to normal economic times in the forecast, the City of Calistoga is beginning — again — to look at finance options to purchase the Napa County Fairgrounds.

The deal was nearly inked in April last year when the economic fallout from the pandemic crashed the bond market, and the city’s financial outlook took a dive.

At the city council’s July 20 meeting, several options were presented by Urban Futures, the same firm that worked with the city on securing bonds for the purchase last August. The city is not making any decisions at this time, but starting the process for analysis, Mayor Chris Canning emphasized.

In August 2019, the city reached an agreement with the county to purchase 34.3 acres of the fairgrounds property for $7.2 million, after more than two years of negotiations. In April 2020, however, the city and the county amicably agreed that the transaction should not move forward at that time.

Though the city has to basically start over with the financing and restart negotiations with the county, “We’re not starting from zero, but there could be modifications of original agreements with the county,” Canning said.

The city again has a very strong credit rating, and though the bond market fluctuates, it is near historical lows, at about a 3% interest rate, Urban’s representatives said.

City councilmembers will now take some time to look over the presentation, research which bonds are available, weigh the pros and cons, and come back at a later date with questions for discussion.

Napa County might use a high-tech system to try to detect fires soon after ignition, with the hope an early warning gives firefighters the jump they need to prevent raging, massive wildfires.

You can reach Cynthia Sweeney at 942-4035 or csweeney@weeklycalistogan.com.

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The Weekly Calistogan Editor

Cynthia Sweeney has been editor of The Weekly Calistogan since July, 2018. Previously, she was a reporter for the St. Helena Star, and North Bay Business Journal. She also spent a significant amount of time freelancing in Hawaii.

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