The search for a tenant for the Del Mar Horsepark continues.
After an initial RFP resulted in an “unresponsive” filing, Del Mar Fairground officials announced during a board meeting on Nov. 16 that they would issue a new RFP by Thanksgiving.
The Horsepark is located on 65 acres, about five kilometers east of the Del Mar Fairgrounds on the corner of El Camino Real and Via de la Valle in the San Dieguito River Valley, and has been closed for almost a year. The venue needs infrastructure updates to meet Regional Water Quality Control Board requirements. A plan to implement wastewater management measures of approximately $ 3 to 4 million would allow it to reopen.
After considering the reopening of the exhibition grounds, the exhibition board decided a few months ago to look for a tenant.
The lone response that Exhibition Grounds officials received from their first call for tenders had “a formality that resulted in us having to consider it unresponsive,” said Carlene Moore, CEO of Exhibition Grounds.
This response was submitted by horse show organizer Dale Harvey, who said during a public comment that he had been turned down on a “one word formality” and was “extremely disappointed with the process”.
“It just seems to me that maybe there was no intention from the outset to award a contract for this tender,” he said to the board members. “I hope I’m wrong about that.”
“I’m just going to say you are wrong,” said G. Joyce Rowland, Vice President of the Fair Board. “I think the intent is absolutely to move forward and resume horse operations at Horsepark.”
Harvey said in an interview that he submitted his proposal in October and then interviewed the fairground officials.
“It went very well, I thought,” he said.
Harvey said he received an email a few weeks later saying the proposal had been rejected because an addendum that was part of the RFP was not properly confirmed.
“It’s very strange and very strange, but you can do what you want I think,” he said.
Harvey also said he believed the fairground owed “the public a full explanation” of its future plan.
“Here we just closed this facility for a full year and we had a tender that was turned down for some reason,” he said. “What’s going on? What’s your schedule?”
Before going to press, the exhibition grounds did not respond to a request for further comments on the “technology” that encumbered the proposal.
Harvey said he would “likely” respond to the second tender.
“I’ll probably scratch that word out and write in red ink whatever word you want and send it back to you,” he said. “It’s disheartening, that’s for sure.”