FFA Fights for Fairgrounds
Petaluma High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter has showcased their agricultural talents at the Petaluma Fairgrounds for generations; recently, the concern of losing the fairground space and having to move elsewhere has become more prevalent.
The fairgrounds are leased from the city of Petaluma by the Board of Directors for the 4th District Agricultural Association, who support the Sonoma-Marin Fair. The lease will expire in four years; however, the city is said to be threatening to not renew on the fairgrounds due to the community wanting to use the property for purposes like housing or shopping centers. Olivia Poncia, senior FFA member, explained, “It’s always been talked about, but this year it just came up a little bit more because our lease on the property is nearing its end and we want to get it renewed.”
FFA wants to keep the fairgrounds and make it known that they intend on protecting the space, but as a nonpartisan organization, they cannot be directly involved in the situation. The annual events that take place on the Petaluma fairgrounds would then have to be relocated to another location and would be an inconvenience for both FFA and the community. Ben Forney, senior FFA member, said, “They have good ambitions, we think, with the land, but we think its best purpose is suited as a fairgrounds, as a community space, and we want to keep it in the tradition of agriculture here in Petaluma.”
To emphasize the importance of keeping the fairgrounds, the group will have to work with city councils. FFA is planning on attending more meetings concerning the situation to make their position more known to the public.