Fairgrounds boss steps down

Chris Borovansky, who has managed the Jackson County Fairgrounds for 21 years, is stepping down to take over as chief executive officer of the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock, Calif.

"It's been a great run," Borovansky said Tuesday.

The new position will give Borovansky, 55, leadership over a larger fair that is near Modesto, Calif. He grew up in the Sacramento area, and the move will bring him and his wife closer to family members.

The Stanislaus County Fair runs for 10 days and has a substantially larger budget than Jackson County's, which runs for five days. Borovansky said he plans to start his new job on April 5, but hasn't decided when his last day will be in Jackson County.

No replacement has been selected for his position, which has a salary range of $90,000 to $104,000.

Borovansky said he will travel to the Stanislaus Fairgrounds over the next two months to familiarize himself with his new job. At the same time, he said he will be available to help the Jackson County Fair during the transition period.

Borovansky has overseen big changes at the fairgrounds, including construction of a solar pavilion and the Lithia Motors Amphitheater. Other arenas and buildings have been improved, too. He said more than $10 million has been raised locally for various projects.

"Everything we've got over the years is because we've got a very generous community," he said. "The amphitheater is something we're very proud of."

Another big change has been the county commissioners' insistence that the fairgrounds become more self-sustaining financially.

"We had to make it operate more like a business," he said.

Bob Smith, Jackson County Fair Board president, said he received news Tuesday that Borovansky was leaving, but that his departure wasn't a complete surprise.

"He was originally from California," Smith said. "We knew that it was possible that someday he might return."

Smith said the fair board has not met to discuss the search for a replacement.

"Until then, we will have to rely on the staff that we have, and the volunteer board members will have to shoulder additional responsibility," he said.

He's hoping that a replacement can be found before the Jackson County Fair, which is set for mid-July. Smith said the fair board and Borovansky will develop transition plans for upcoming events such as the Wild Rogue Pro Rodeo.

Losing Borovansky will be a blow to fair operations because he was so much a part of the community, Smith said.

"He has all these friends and contacts in the community," he said. "It's a big loss."

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 776-4476, or e-mail dmann@mailtribune.com.

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