State Fair move would cost $190 million | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, March 17, 2011

State Fair move would cost $190 million

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 at 11:59 AM

I just don't get it. The State Fair and Livestock Commission keeps studying and talking about moving the state fairgrounds from Little Rock, generally somewhere along I-40 and I-440 between North Little Rock and Jacksonville.

But why? Again today the commission was told it would be crazy expensive to move there — maybe $190 million — but produce a relative pittance in new revenue, $1 million or so.

There was once some thought that federal money — perhaps buried in the pork-laden Agriculture Department — could be dug up to finance such a move. In the era of the Tea Party, it seems hard to fathom. Beware: Discussion today included the dreaded "public-private partnership" option. This is where the public is asked to swallow a tax increase to pay for a new facility, such as at Verizon Arena, and private interests benefit from its skyboxes or as an advertising opportunity. The dreaded "economic development" card was also played. Holy though these words usually are, what development there is in moving a fair from one location in the county to another would have to be marginal in nature.

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