For two weeks each year, John Richard Evans doesn't mind being next to the Salt Lake County fairgrounds in Murray.
One of his two businesses, a fast-food restaurant, prospers.But during the rest of the year, the fair's dilapidated buildings and poorly maintained facilities do little to help his other business, a furniture store. First, there are flies from the fertilizer dumped in front of the barns. Then, water often drains onto his property.
"If I had a choice of another economic development at that locale, I would take that - unless the fair can be upgraded and maintained," said Evans, past president of the Murray Chamber of Commerce.
Evans' experience is one reason Salt Lake County commissioners are considering moving the county's fair from its long-time location near 5200 S. State to a vacant area in South Jordan, near 2200 West and 10800 South.
"It's too much of an urban area," Commissioner Randy Horiuchi said of the Murray site. "We need to look at moving out."
Commission Chairman Jim Bradley said the fair, which tends to emphasize agriculture and farm animals, probably doesn't belong in an area surrounded by houses and businesses.
"From what we gather, the neighbors aren't too enamored with having manure and flies in their back yards," he said.
Another reason they are considering a move is that barns and other facilities are rotting at the Murray site. The fair is governed by an independent board. Since the late 1940s, the county has given paltry yearly subsidies to the fair. This year, it is giving $70,000.
But now the county is negotiating with the fair board to take a bigger role in maintaining and operating the facilities. Mike Peterson, associate director of the county's Recreation Division, said he estimates it will take about $800,000 to renovate the fairgrounds and maybe as much as $160,000 a year to maintain it.
Commissioners say they are waiting for a final report on the costs before deciding whether to move to South Jordan. But they aren't excited about the thought of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix up fairgrounds that generate complaints from neighbors and that don't allow for expansion.
South Jordan officials are waiting anxiously.
"Our city supports the move. We think it's a much better location for the fairground activities. In fact, our city officials have been discussing the move with county commissioners," said Richard N. Warne, South Jordan City Administrator.
"We think this location provides more space for more activities and in fact, the (25-acre) South Jordan City Park - next to the Equestrian Park - could be used to enhance and improve the county fair.
"There would definitely be some economic benefits to our community, as well."
Murray officials, meanwhile, aren't too concerned about the possible loss of the fair. They believe it has become less of an economic boon to the city over the years.
"We have had the fair in Murray for a long time, and obviously if they decide to move it, we will miss it. However, we do understand the economic realities," said Jack DeMann, executive assistant to Murray Mayor Lynn Pett.
However, DeMann said Murray would be concerned if the fairgrounds, adjacent to the Murray City Park, are not kept for some sort of public use.
That's a concern county commissioners seem to share.
"It's not our desire to see office buildings go up there," Horiuchi said.