PROVO -- Cedar Fort Mayor Jeanine Cook says her little west desert community is seriously interested in providing a permanent home to the homeless Utah County Fair.
Responding to fair director Marilyn Toone, who asked the mayors at the November Council of Governments meeting where they thought the fair might find a permanent home, Cook said Cedar Fort ought to be considered."We're very interested. I know you think we're out here on the Tooele County line," Cook said. "But we just acquired 100 acres just for this kind of event. We'd love to be seriously considered."
Cook said the town is a perfect location for the ailing fair.
"We're agricultural, rural. We're a natural setting," she said. "We'd have to convince some people to drive out to find us, but we could do that."
She said Cedar Fort will be talking to Utah County officials and exploring the possibilities.
At the same time, Spanish Fork Mayor Dale Barney said his city is more than willing to talk over whether the fair could return to the fairgrounds in the south part of the county.
Utah County commissioners pulled out of Spanish Fork after some disagreement over what the county needed to pay to continue to use the buildings and facilities partially funded by the county.
The fair has since been located at the David O. McKay Special Events Center at Utah Valley State College, but attendance has sagged.
Barney said Spanish Fork city is willing to talk if the county is ready, but the terms must be reasonable.
"We'd be willing to pay whatever wherever we go," said County Commissioner Jerry Grover. "We're just opening it up for discussion here, looking for feedback."
"We don't expect it to be free," said Commissioner Gary Herbert.
Toone told the council she is interested in any and all proposals.
She said Utah Valley State College officials are receptive to the fair continuing for a third year at the Special Events Center but there are limitations that somewhat handicap the festivities.
"We're hoping to find a place to have large animals," Toone said. "We've been criticized for losing that part of the fair and this is the time to re-evaluate."
She said she's sent letters to the managers of both Thanksgiving Point and Seven Peaks trying to gauge their interest and now wants the mayors to take the idea to their cities as well.
Herbert said he hears from residents who believe Utah County ought to get behind the fair with a lot more dollars and make it better and bigger and then from others who want to let it die.
He said the commission needs suggestions and direction from residents of the county.
"There's no one good answer," he said. "But if there's a better way, let's do it."
Toone passed out a needs list to the mayors asking that any proposals submitted provide for a minimum square footage space of 17,000 square feet for a carnival and another 17,000 square feet for an animal exhibit area, 10,000 square feet for commercial booths, 5,000 square feet for food vendors, 2,400 square feet for a main stage and 5,000 square feet for a specialty exhibit area.
In addition, the fair requires access to potable water, electrical utilities, phone and computer hook-ups, ample parking space, outdoor lighting and security.
Itemized costs that would be associated with hosting the fair should be tallied and submitted with any proposal, she said.
Cities or groups interested in discussing options with Marilyn Toone can call 370-8137, fax questions to 370-8105 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.