With the Utah Legislature having already approved spending $3 million to renovate the historic Exhibit Hall No. 1 at the State Fairgrounds, Gov. Norm Bangerter and State Fair Director Jackie Nokes agree the state fair ought to stay right where it is.
The agreement came after Nokes met with Bangerter Friday to discuss rumors the fair may be moved to the Salt Palace Complex as part of the proposed Salt Palace expansion."He (Bangerter) set my mind at ease that the state fair is alive and well and will stay where it is," Nokes told the Deseret News Friday evening. She said the governor thinks the facilities - especially when the Exhibit Hall is renovated - meet the fair's needs.
But Bangerter's press secretary, Francine Giani, said that doesn't mean the governor thinks it inappropriate to hold discussions on moving the fair - even if recent studies support keeping it where it is.
Meanwhile, Salt Lake County Commission Chairman Bart Barker thinks it's premature to decide anything about moving the fair. He said a series of three public meetings are scheduled for next week to discuss options for the Salt Palace expansion.
Nokes said rumors of the state fair being moved elsewhere have been circulating for 25 years. But she still wanted the governor's assurance.
"My feeling is if the fair isn't going to stay (at the fairgrounds), why work so hard," she said.
Nokes said bids for renovation of the exhibit building will go out in August. Construction will begin immediately.