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Fairpark board opposes possible sale, relocation of park

It says no other facility can host Utah State Fair

SHARE Fairpark board opposes possible sale, relocation of park

The Utah State Fairpark board of directors said Wednesday it opposes relocation of the state fair and believes the Fairpark is much more than just a home for Utah's largest annual event.

This statement was made in response to a committee, appointed in April by Gov. Mike Leavitt, that is exploring a possible sale of the Fairpark land and a relocation.

The 11-member Fairpark board strongly recommends the fair continue to operate at the Utah State Fairpark, North Temple and 1000 West. With year-round activities, ranging from family reunions and concerts, to the annual Utah State Fair, the park provides a perfect venue for gatherings of all sizes, the board said, adding it also believes its is the most economical, functional and accessible site available.

"The Utah State Fairpark has hosted the fair for the past 99 years and operates on a fraction of the public subsidy required by other public facilities, such as the zoo and parks," said Donna Dahl, executive director of the Utah State Fair.

"But, besides being the perfect venue for the wide range of activities associated with the fair, the Fairpark also provides the community with a myriad of additional opportunities. It hosts everything from an eclectic mix of concerts and trade-related events to the Scout-O-Rama and the Utah Arts Festival. No other site offers the wide array of resources. . . . It would be a shame to see those assets go to waste," she said.

Located on 64 acres, the Fairpark is a nonprofit corporation and attracts some 300,000 to the annual state fair. This year's event is set for Sept. 6-16.

Dahl said a previous study done years ago had already concluded the current fair site was the best location.

Lynn Runolfson, the new State Fair board chairman, said what the fair really needs is to be enhanced by some modern buildings that can host modern events. That way, the year-round attraction, usage and revenue of the Fairpark would increase, he said.

The fair's board of directors lists the following reasons why it should remain where it is:

The State Fairpark and its historic buildings were designed specifically to meet the needs of the Utah State Fair.

The present location has become as much a part of the tradition as the fair itself.

In order to fulfill its charter, the fair must be located in a place that attracts the largest number of visitors.

No existing county facility is capable of hosting and producing the fair even if additional buildings are constructed.

Sale of the Utah State Fairpark would not generate sufficient revenue to develop a new, similar facility.


E-MAIL: lynn@desnews.com