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Arkansas State Fair to stay in Little Rock

By David Harten

This article was originally published June 14, 2012 at 7:08 a.m. Updated June 14, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.

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Board members consider the location of the Arkansas State Fair before voting to keep it in Little Rock.

State Fair to stay in Little Rock

The Arkansas Livestock Show Association committee voted unanimously in a Thursday morning meeting to keep the Arkansas State Fair at its current location at the State Fairgrounds Complex in Little Rock. (By David Harten)
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— The Arkansas Livestock Show Association executive board has voted unanimously at a Thursday morning meeting to keep the Arkansas State Fair at its current location in Little Rock.

Despite recent debate over whether to move the event due to older facilities and the condition of the area surrounding the State Fairgrounds Complex at 2600 Howard Street, off of Roosevelt Road, officials determined the area still fit to host the event.

The fair has been held at the same location since 1944.

Other options were considered, such as moving the state fair to locations in Jacksonville and North Little Rock.

Mayor Mark Stodola offered the board $300,000 per year for the next 10 years to stay at its current location. State Fair President and General Manager Ralph Shoptaw said the money will come out of the city's recent sales tax increase.

Shoptaw added that while most state fairs around the country operate on hundreds of acres, the Arkansas State Fair currently holds its affairs on 96 acres. However, the fairgrounds also houses an additional amount of land in the area of 60-plus acres over railroad tracks behind the fairgrounds. It's an area Shoptaw said the committee will look into developing.

This is also an idea of buying land in the surrounding areas and developing the area, Shoptaw said.

Officials also added that the city of Jacksonville offered land off of Interstate 440 in competition with the current Little Rock area.

This coming year will mark the modern fair's 68th anniversary.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: Arkansas State Fair to stay in Little Rock

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Displaying 1 - 10 of 18 total comments

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arkienanna says... June 14, 2012 at 10:48 a.m.

Glad they are keeping tradition - and hope they invest in facilty improvements!

( | suggest removal )

mlittles says... June 14, 2012 at 10:53 a.m.

I am so happy,the tradition continues.

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LisaMae says... June 14, 2012 at 10:59 a.m.

Mayor Mark Stodola offered the board $300,000 per year for the next 10 years...

WHAT??? The City of Little Rock has that much to hand out? Why are they raising taxes?

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RBBrittain says... June 14, 2012 at 11:09 a.m.

@LisaMae: That money was included in the LR sales-tax proposal, along with many other improvements. It was disclosed to the voters; they approved it (or more accurately, the Heights & Hillcrest cast enough votes for it to overrule the rest of the city).
.
NLR asked its voters for a sales tax to buy a new fairgrounds (again, among other things); they turned it down. IIRC Jacksonville already owned its proposed fairgrounds, but didn't provide anything else to sweeten the deal.

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SRBROTHERINLAW says... June 14, 2012 at 11:20 a.m.

THE CURRENT SITE OF THE STATE FAIR IS UNSAFE. TRADITION IS OF COURSE IMPORTANT BUT LIVES AND PROPERTY OUTWEIGH TRADITION. I BELIEVE A DIFFERENT LOCATION WOULD BE BETTER AND EASIER TO APPLY SECURITY.

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Waterwizard says... June 14, 2012 at 11:26 a.m.

I hope they plan to do something with that eye sore Barton Coliseum. I am embarrassed to even have rodeo livestock in that junk pile. Shame on somebody for allowing it to fall in such a deplorable state.

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MenLR2 says... June 14, 2012 at 11:36 a.m.

Till I win the lottery and can afford my own personal security force with armored car...I will skip the Arkansas State Fair...

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TheBatt says... June 14, 2012 at 1:15 p.m.

Since when was the sales tax raised to pay a bribe to the Fair board? So people from all over the state still have to put their lives, propery, and wellbeing on the line just to attend the fair.

Wouldn't $300,000 per year be better used (stewardship in government- yeah right) in patrolling and otherwise working to make that neighborhood safer?

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LevitiCuss says... June 14, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.

Good!

( | suggest removal )

SirGolfsalot says... June 14, 2012 at 1:54 p.m.

Hate to hear this. As long as it's held at the current location I probably won't be going.

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