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Fairground welcome 

STAY OR GO?: Will the state fairgrounds remain in Litte Rock or transfer elsewhere?
  • STAY OR GO?: Will the state fairgrounds remain in Litte Rock or transfer elsewhere?

Little Rock wants to keep it. Jacksonville and other towns want to take it away. So, where does North Little Rock stand in regards to becoming the new home for the Arkansas State Fair?

“We're not submitting an application, as such,” Mayor Pat Hays said Friday, “though we feel North Little Rock and north of the river have some extremely attractive sites.”

Hays said the city would support efforts by private developers seeking to lure the State Fair to North Little Rock or nearby.

 “[I am] going to see what the fairgrounds [officials] pick as a site, then think about possible partnerships, possible incentives,” said Hays, who noted that he was only speaking for himself since the City Council had not taken up any fairgrounds-related issues yet. “To my knowledge, [fair officials] have not made the threshold decision — the decision to leave.”

Hays said he's met several times with several landowners interested in submitting proposals to the State Fair, though he declined to name any of them or identify the location of the land. He did say that at least one property was within the city limits and at least one other was outside, and that the city would support the latter even though they weren't in its jurisdiction. Yet.

“If it isn't [in the city limits now], that doesn't mean two, four, six years from now it might not be,” he said.

As for what form city support and incentives might take for a hometown fairgrounds candidate — for instance, a tax increment financing (TIF) district — Hays said “any legal tools might be considered” but that no specifics had been discussed.

“I don't have anything on the table or off the table at the moment,” he said.

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