MoCoFair2017NC_014.jpg (copy)

An archive photo from 2017 shows people walking through the fairgrounds' midway. The Monterey County Fair and Event Center borders the Monterey Pines Golf Course, which is near the Monterey Regional Airport. 

State officials are considering sheltering homeless people at the Monterey County Fairgrounds, officially known as the Monterey County Fair and Event Center, during the coronavirus crisis, according to Monterey City Manager Hans Uslar.

“The state has reached out to Monterey County Fairgrounds,” he said in a press briefing on March 23. “It’s our understanding that a solution will be forthcoming shortly from the [Gov Gavin Newsom’s] office.” 

The California Department of Food and Agriculture contacted the fairgrounds last week and said the state Office of Emergency Services would follow up about a possible shelter. The OES has yet to call, according to fairgrounds CEO Kelly Violini. 

Newsom announced over the weekend that the state is making plans to use hotels, motels and other facilities for sheltering people who have no roof over their heads. Uslar had previously shared with local media that local hotels and motels are being contacted. 

Uslar added that the city does not have authority over the decision on setting up a shelter at the fairgrounds. 

Occupying 22 acres in Monterey, the fairgrounds are owned by the state. The venue has been used to host various annual music shows. In addition to stages, the fairgrounds features kitchens, seven halls and an RV park.

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Asaf Shalev is a staff writer at the Monterey County Weekly. He covers higher education, the military, the environment, public lands and the geographic areas of Seaside, Monterey, Sand City, Big Sur and Carmel Valley.

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(1) comment

Leigh Fitz

To be noted there is a CAMPGROUND there with hookups and people can walk to stores and pharmacies from there. It would be great if the County would do the same at the Laguna Seca campgrounds on a regular basis...although more remote, there are literally over a hundred sites up there (not all with hookups) that usually sit empty between events...which are being cancelled. I've suggested this in meetings where it matters, and I'm glad to see some movement on this at last.

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