Draft master plan for O.C. fairgrounds includes new main entrance and parking structure


A relocated and renovated main entrance, a parking garage, solar energy arrays, perimeter fencing and a new education center are among a laundry list of possible projects detailed in a draft 10-year master site plan for the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.

The concept, which Orange County Fair Board members will review this month, is the result of more than a year of work by staff and a team of consultants — a process that included several meetings to discuss what residents, administrators and others envision for the 150-acre, state-owned fairgrounds.

All told, the draft outlines seven development phases with an estimated price tag totaling about $169 million. That’s almost four times the fairgrounds’ most recent annual budget.


Fair & Event Center spokeswoman Terry Moore said the draft concept is just that. Nothing is final at this point, and any costs associated with master site plan projects would be reviewed and budgeted down the line.

“The goal of the project is to create a road map for the future of [the] OC Fair & Event Center that serves the community and celebrates the county’s agricultural heritage,” Moore said Thursday. “There are many ways to accomplish this, so it has been important to gather input from key stakeholders and the public.”

Potential projects in the draft plan run from more modest efforts like installing additional signage and redoing landscaping to ambitious undertakings such as relocating the main entryway to the property off Fair Drive; expanding the administration building; developing a new education center with classrooms, offices and meeting space; erecting a parking garage at the corner of Fairview Road and Arlington Drive and putting a bridge over Fairview to connect with Orange Coast College to the west.

Also included are proposed upgrades for existing facilities — among them new stadium seating at the Action Sports Arena and renovating the ticketing and back-of-house areas at the Pacific Amphitheatre.

Fair Board members will discuss the plan during their next public meeting at 9 a.m. April 26 at the Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive.

Another meeting is expected to follow that but isn’t firmly scheduled.

Once the board signs off on a final concept, the master site plan will need to go through the environmental review process, which could take several months.

To view the draft plan or to comment on it, visit

“We understand that not everyone is available to come to a formal meeting, so we’ve invited the public to use the form on the website,” Moore said. “This gives everyone an equal voice and a chance to be heard.”

Fairgrounds officials also are developing a strategic business plan that will help shape how the organization structures its operations. The master site plan focuses on the physical property.

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