San Mateo County plans major renovations to fairgrounds, including hotel, parking garage

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- San Mateo county is slowly rolling out an ambitious plan to revitalize its fairgrounds. It includes building renovations, a parking garage and a mid-sized hotel.

"We want to do more daytime business, like business seminars, business conferences and to do that we need to renovate some of the buildings and we think we need to build a hotel," said Carole Groom, Supervisor for District 2 in San Mateo County. "We think this is an enhancement to the city and to the economic benefit of the city."

The plans were presented at a community meeting in Beresford Park on Tuesday night, just one of several that's been held in the community over the last year with more to come in the months ahead.

"It's that collaborative process that we are invested in continuing, so that everyone gets their input," said Dana Stoehr, CEO of San Mateo County Event Center.

It's a 30-year project vision that's in the very early stages of planning. But for resident Brian McKenna who lives next door, the thought of more development is anything but exciting.

"I don't think I would've bought a house in this neighborhood, I was to know that all this planned development was to happen around me," he said.

For the county, the 49-acre space is all about potential. New development means new revenue, funds the non-profit center badly needs to survive in the future.

"The buildings are wonderful and well used but they're tired and it's time we did something and this is the collaboration of that beginning," said Stoehr.

It's the kind of development that's becoming common in growing San Mateo where you see new housing everywhere. Even a new CalTrain station is in the works.

"Huge topic in the neighborhood," said Lisa Molloy, "Living in the neighborhood, it's already a problem with all the events, because there's not enough parking for everyone as it is, so they park in our neighborhoods, they leave their trash in the neighborhood."

Jason Salvato welcomes growth. He's the owner of Bert's Hair Design at the Fiesta Gardens Shopping Center, located near the event center. His shop has been in San Mateo since the 1960s and he knows not all change is good.

"I think this is kind of a small town, so some of the scope of these projects should fit the size of our town,"he said.

More community consultations are expected this year.

"We are not rushing, we are not going to present this to the public at a public session until we know we are positive that we've got the right plan," said Groom.

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