Morgan Baker | 03/09/2021 | Industry Newsletter

Benton County Fairgrounds Merge with Natural Areas & Parks

Lynne McKee, Benton County Fairgrounds Manager, has the exciting opportunity to expand her role within Benton County to include managing the fairgrounds as well as county natural areas and parks that include Salmonberry Campground, Fort Hoskins Historical Park, Beazell Memorial Forest & Education Center, and many others. The county wanted to combine Natural Areas with Fairgrounds as the previous Director of Natural Areas & Parks sets to retire. This idea came on as the two departments already serve similar functions with RV parks, events, rentals, maintenance, and landscaping.

Over the past year, Lynne has become accustomed to going where the county needs her. With the Fairgrounds ultimately shut down due to COVID, her team helped assist those in need through the wildfire evacuations and the ice storm in addition to helping with the vaccine rollout at the Emergency Operations Center in Corvallis.

With this expanded role, Lynne will continue her work on the Fairgrounds Master Plan that includes updates to the exhibit hall, outdoor arena, and commercial kitchen and her team will be starting work on a new, eye-catching website for Natural Areas & Parks, go through a strategic planning process, survey North Albany Park, and continue the Forest Stewardship Plan. When asked what she’s most excited for Lynne said, “Creating a new department. This is an opportunity that you don’t get very often - creating a new structure, bringing in new staff, and figuring out how to create a new department from scratch. That is something that doesn’t happen very often in peoples’ careers. Plus, I love strategic planning.” She looks forward to supporting staff and the community with their combined resources.

As a member of the Visit Corvallis board, Lynne understands the importance of travel and tourism and the impact visitors have. Her new website plans include links to information on hotels, restaurants, sample itineraries and a lot of cross promotion with the Visit Corvallis site. They will also expand the role of the Fairgrounds Social Media Coordinator to cover Natural Areas & Parks as well to build a bigger social media presence and reach more potential visitors. Her goal is to reach those visitors who want to come in and hike or kayak, eat at a local restaurant or brewery, and sleep in the comforts of one of our hotels. She looks forward to more photography of all the beauty Benton County has to offer.

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