Proposals for moving the Salt Lake County Fair to South Jordan or some other site in the county are worth careful consideration.
But if officials are serious about relocating the fair, the county should not spend needless time or money for studies on the feasibility of making improvements at the present 50-acre site, near 5200 S. State.Most of the buildings and facilities at the site, located adjacent to Murray City Park, are dilapidated and need repair. One county official has estimated that it will take about $800,000 to renovate the fairgrounds and perhaps as much as $166,000 a year to maintain the area.
Drainage problems, unpleasant odors emanating from the site and costs associated with upgrading the fairgrounds are just a few reasons why county officials are thinking about moving the fair to another location. A proposed site is near 2200 West and 10800 South in South Jordan.
Backers of the move say a rural setting would be more conducive to a county fair. Yet moving the fair away from larger population centers may discourage some urban youths from participating. While livestock, bird and other displays are very important, a fair should also accommodate 4-H and other youths and adults interested in clothing, food and other displays and the arts.
If the fair isn't held in Murray, what will happen to the fairgrounds? Murray City officials and business-people don't appear to support the county selling the land for commercial or other development.
And if the Murray fairgrounds are used as open recreational space, as some county officials hope, does the county have money to maintain the property for other use and still support a second county fair site in South Jordan? It costs about $120,000 a year for the fair and to maintain the grounds, with $70,000 of that amount coming from Salt Lake County.
Salt Lake County Parks and Rec-reation Division officials credit the County Fair Board for doing the best it can to maintain the facilities with limited dollars.
But the time for either improving or demolishing structures is running out. There are also county liability and health concerns, which will be among information presented to the County Commission about mid-April.
The fair board, an independent body that is not supervised by any county department but which receives some money from the county, favors upgrading the facilities and continuing the fair in Murray.
One South Jordan official says that city is willing to work with the county and to use the city's 25 acres of property, located just east of the county's equestrian park, as part of a proposal for the county fair.
Most people love a fair and the activities and enthusiasm it generates. If Murray, South Jordan or any other place is to become the future location of the fair, let's make it an attractive area, one that neighbors and fairgoers will support and visit.