The Utah State Fairpark Board wants to build a brand new multi-purpose arena, and they’re asking the legislature to help pay for it.
The proposed outdoor arena would be a state of the art facility that could seat as many as 10 thousand people. Fairpark board members say it would be able to host large-scale events year round and would help bring in about a $1 million in profit every year. Roger Beattie is the chairman of the board of the State Fairpark Corporation. He says the new arena will allow them to bring in events they couldn’t otherwise get, including becoming the permanent home of the Days of ’47 Rodeo.
“So it produces significant long-term revenues, increasing revenues, that help defray the cost of the Fairpark, improve the Fairpark, and ultimately reduce the burden on taxpayer money to be reinvested for maintenance there," Beattie says.
The Fairpark Board is asking the state to provide $10 million of the expected $17-million-dollar price tag. The remaining $7 million will come from private companies and donors, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Republican Rep. Mel Brown is a member of the Interim Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee that gave the project their vote of approval on Wednesday. He says while there have been many proposals in the past, the arena is the right investment at the right time.
“And I believe the state has to step up, make a commitment to the park, and to the future development of the park and something we can be very proud of," Brown says. "But, we’ve got to recognize that it’s going to cost us money, but it’s worth it. “
Beattie says the Fairpark Board would like to see this project happen as quickly as possible. He’s asked legislators to see if the Governor would call a special session as early as July so they can pass a bill funding the project.