Legislative auditors say Utah's state fairgrounds still badly need repair, and the director of the fair said she needs $7 million next year for renovations.
The legislative auditor general released a report Wednesday citing the need for repairs in many buildings on the fairgrounds, near 10th West and North Temple. The report said the Division of Expositions needs to plan better to correct the problems and recommended protecting arena bleachers from the weather and scrapping plans for a covered horse arena.Jackie Nokes, fair director, said she is pleased with the report and hopes lawmakers will give her the money necessary to make the repairs. The Legislature gave $3 million to the fair last year. Most of the money was used to restore an exhibit building that has been condemned since 1985.
"We have no problems at all with the report," Nokes said. "We know what needs to be done with the buildings."
The fairgrounds have housed Utah's annual fair since 1902. Many of the buildings are more than 60 years old.
Business and government officials studying whether to build a new basketball arena downtown had considered earlier this year moving the fair to the Salt Palace. The report did not examine that issue.
The report recommends the state continue operating the annual fair, noting that an average of 360,000 people have attended the event each of the past 10 years.
According to the report, the buildings needing repairs include the coliseum, a 65-year-old building used for boxing events, concerts and bicycle races. The building's foundation is crumbling because of a lack of rain gutters and poor drainage. The building also needs more exits.
The floor in a building that houses craft exhibits is warped and bent because of a ventilation problem, and the fairgrounds should have a better drainage system, according to the report.