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Future bright for Illinois fairgrounds

Future bright for Illinois fairgrounds

By Andi Anderson

The Illinois State Fairgrounds, a hub of agricultural showcase and social gatherings, is set to undergo significant transformations.

Announced by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) in collaboration with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, the plan integrates modern enhancements with the Fairgrounds' traditional roles.

Governor JB Pritzker highlighted the plan's significance following a hefty $58.1 million investment in upgrades. "The Illinois State Fairgrounds draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world,” he remarked.

“This master plan not only creates a future-focused blueprint for continued growth and success but also ensures that the Fairgrounds are among the best in the nation.”

The initiative stemmed from The Next 10, a visioning project by the Community Foundation initiated in 2020 to reinvigorate discussions about the future of the Greater Springfield Area.

A key focus of this initiative was the potential of the State Fairgrounds to stimulate regional social and economic activity.

Jerry Costello II, IDOA Director, emphasized the strategic foresight of the plan. “It is our responsibility to plan today for a strong and prosperous future for the Illinois State Fairgrounds,” he said.

By partnering with the Community Foundation, they have developed long-term strategies to rejuvenate the Fairgrounds and ensure its legacy.

Proposed enhancements include a new "Town Square" south of the Midway to improve the area's look and functionality. Plans also include the construction of an onsite hotel and the expansion of the staff to bolster sales and marketing efforts.

John Stremsterfer, president of the Community Foundation, expressed satisfaction with the strategic planning process. "This plan provides a comprehensive strategy for the future of the Fairgrounds,” he noted.

The Community Foundation is eager to see continued strategic investments in this iconic property located at the heart of Springfield.

This master plan signifies a pivotal step toward enriching the Illinois State Fairgrounds as a premier destination for agriculture and community events, setting a precedent for future developments in the region.

Photo Credit: illinois-state-fair

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Categories: Illinois, General

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