LITTLE ROCK 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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