After years of debates over everything from horse racing to historic buildings, the Missoula County Commissioners have finally approved a plan for the Missoula Fairgrounds.

"we approved the concept plan for the development of the fairgrounds," said Commissioner Cola Rowley. "This is a plan that has been in the works for many many years and has gone through different iterations and this is the farthest it has ever made it. We are very proud and excited to have a plan. Now the real work starts so we are excited to have gotten to this point."

Many people expected that when the fairground plan was finished that commissioners would be asking for a big county-wide bond to pay for the redesign, but Rowley says they aren’t going to do that.

"Ultimately, maybe several years down the road, we will have to go out for a bond, but it certainly won't be a large bond for all the spaces and we do want to phase the plan in," Rowley said. "City and county have seen a lot of large bonds lately and people are feeling very heavily taxed. I am not sure that they would support a tax increase in order to support a county entity such as the fairgrounds. We also have some work to do with the public relation out at the fairgrounds."

Rowley says they hope to pay for the redesign through various means including fund raising, public-private partnerships and leases.