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Could State Fairgrounds be in Line for Another Multi-Million Dollar Investment?

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he’s ready to invest an additional 50 million dollars into the state fairgrounds following a record breaking state fair.  But he says it depends on if he agrees with plans made by his newly-appointed task force for phase two of improvements to transform the grounds into a year-round venue.  He made the announcement yesterday.

“We run a state fair that’s a couple of weeks a year.  We’ve done that for a long time.  But running a fair for 365 days a years a different exercise.  And if we could find a company that does that, because to run it 365 days a year, you’re attracting a variety of shows.”

County Executive Joanie Mahoney is one of 21 task force members.  She says with one season at the Amphitheater behind them, she knows what she’d like to see.

“I’m really looking at possibilities to connect the amphitheater to the state fair.  And I know we heard form a lot of people that the logistics of getting between the two was tough, so my focus is on that.”

Credit Scott Willis/WAER News
Eric Mower of Syracuse is part of a task force on further improvements to the State Fair

Mahoney understands agriculture and equine groups have different priorities, which will also be part of phase two.  Local Business leader Eric Mower is also on the task force.  He says Central New York lacks a larger multi-purpose facility and by building one, the area might soon have something it’s always needed.

“It’s reasonable to say that in terms of large-scale events that this part of New York State does not have a facility that large.  Obviously we have the Oncenter but we’re talking about a different kind of venue, a different kind of scale, and different purposes.”

Governor Cuomo says even with record-breaking attendance after the first 50 million dollars in upgrades, it’s not time to rest easy. 

“A lot of my people when I started talking about this said, ‘can’t we just say we broke all records; it was a phenomenal success, have a party and take a vacation?’ I said no, no, no.  We will say, ‘it was a great success; we broke all the records.  Now we have to even better next year.’”

The task force has until year’s end to create a plan.  If Cuomo approves, he will ask the legislature for the additional funding for phase two of the project. 

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.