One hundred people have applied for the directorship of the State Fairpark, a job that the Fairpark board hopes to fill in the coming weeks.

Board president Lynn Runolfson said during a meeting of the board Tuesday that he is pleased with the large number of applications received for the job, which was vacated a month ago when director John Whittaker resigned.Runolfson asked members of a five-member search committee to submit their recommendations for a new director by Tuesday, Feb. 24.

The post has been advertised to pay from $45,000 to $52,000. The person hired will report to the 11-member board of the nonprofit public corporation, which has another board vacancy.

Runolfson announced Tuesday that Kay Alger, Cedar City, who "served well" for six years, has resigned, effective March 1, for health reasons. Gov. Mike Leavitt will appoint another board member.

The board was advised Tuesday by Runolfson and controller Richard F. Abbott of a "positive" Fairpark financial picture. To date, they said the corporation "should break even" by the end of the fiscal year June 30. But they said that would not be possible without a state subsidy.

When the corporation was created in 1995, state legislation mandated that the corporation work to become financially self-sufficient.

The board and its staff say they have been working hard toward that end but say it's difficult to continue to raise new revenue from rentals in old Fairpark buildings that are continually in need of repair.

"We are not ready to (operate without state help), but we feel we are getting closer" to that point, Runolfson said in an interview.

The Fairpark is requesting that the 1998 Legislature appropriate $330,000 over and above the $270,000 in general funds approved by the 1997 session.

Richard E. Byfield, director of the Division of Facilities Construction and Management, met with the board Tuesday to discuss "vision planning" for the Fairpark.

A number of projects have been discussed or planned by the board within the past year or so. One was an RV park, which has been put on hold. The board has also said it would like to cover and provide additional seating for the rodeo arena and to build a multipurpose Fairpark building.

Byfield announced that $149,913 in state funds is available for master planning for the Fairpark. The money was appropriated by the 1994 Legislature. Byfield said division is "pleased to help in any way we can."

After that part of the meeting, the board decided Tuesday to plan for a meeting, possibly by mid-April, with "movers and the shakers" of the community who can help the Fairpark achieve its financial and other objectives.

Such individuals would include business people, politicians, neighborhood residents - "anyone who has an interest in the state of Utah and the Fairpark."

On a recommendation of Lillian Taylor, Monticello, chairwoman of the fair committee, the board voted to move the Utah State Fair queen pageant, which in past years has been held a day before the fair opened, to the opening night of the fair. That would be preceded by a talent program. A grandstand concert has been held on the opening night. Also, the board voted to seek a contract for a professional wrestling show in lieu of musical entertainers on Sunday night, Sept. 20, the closing night of the 1998 fair.