Study outlines options for Utah State Fair Park’s future

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah State Fair drew 250,000 visitors in what was considered a slow, rainy year in 2013. But the State Fair Park on North Temple between downtown and the airport hemorrhages millions of tax dollars.

"This has been the home for the Utah State Fair since the early 1900s, we have buildings over a hundred years old," said Mike Steele, director of the Utah State Fair Corporation.

A study just released to the State Building Board outlines what it would cost to keep the fair going, and how much the state would make by selling the 67 acres.

To continue the fair for 20 years in current conditions: $33 million.

To fully modernize the current location: $47 million.

To build a new fair park: $160 million.

Likely sale price for the land as a transit-oriented-development: $18.1 million.

Kristen Cox, director of the Governor's Office of Management and Budget, was on hand as the Building Board heard the findings for the first time.

"We know there's some urgency from the State Fair to get some decisions made," Cox said.

The urgency comes in the form of an expiring lease. The State Fair Corporation is a public/private entity charged with running the Fair each year. They also manage the Fair Park.

Mike Steele says the Fair should stay at the current site, calling the cost of a move "staggering."

The state legislature will make the final decision.

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