Renovations needed for facilities at the Missouri State Fair

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SEDALIA - Gov. Nixon announced on Wednesday that $4 million in state funds will be used for updates at The Missouri State Fair.

The fairground hosts the annual 10-day state fair and more than 460 events throughout the year.

Renovations to the 1910 Womans Building and the 1906 Coliseum are the major projects planned to prove safety and use of the aging buildings. State Fair director Mark Wolfe said without the funding the fairgrounds would not be able to complete these larger projects.

"Certainly we're not changing these buildings. What we are doing to these projects is renovating them, certainly with the Womans Building making those upper floors useful, under current settings that I said earlier we have not been able to use those upper floors due to the amount of deterioration and things," Wolfe said.

The fairgrounds have been self sufficient and do not receive money from the general revenue. Wolfe said it does lean on the state and legislature like this for capital improvements.

"You know you couldn't replace these buildings at today's cost so I think the view needs to be that it's our responsibility during our time here to take care of these facilities and do whatever it takes to maintain them and leave them for the next generation, like they were left for us," Wolfe said.

With a quarter of a million people employed in the agricultural industry and more than 99,000 farms throughout the state, Gov. Nixon highlighted the fair celebrating the backbone of the Missouri.

Nixon said these renovations are vital to keep the enduring and important tradition of the Missouri State Fair.

The $4 million is a part of the package, Build Missouri initiative that was passed during this year's General Assembly. The initiative is funding 500 more renovation projects for public facilities. Some of these projects include state parks, veteran homes and at universities. Spokesperson Scott Holste said these projects have been in the works for some time and many have been put off for far too long.

Holste said the state's low interest on bonds make now an ideal time to move forward on the projects.

On Wednesday Nixon said Missouri taxpayers are expected to save $30 million over the life of the bonds in the initiative.

The projects for the state fairgrounds are just beginning but should be completed by the next fair season. The next step is to hire an architect and engineer.

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