Utah State Fairpark's future on the table for deliberation

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah State Fairpark representatives again asked the state to extend the fairgrounds' lease Friday, saying it would secure the future of the park for another 40 years.

The lease renewal is required in order for the fairgrounds and Real Salt Lake to seal a deal to develop an 8,000-seat minor league soccer stadium there. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen has agreed to pay the full construction costs of the $18 million facility.

The Infrastructure and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee expressed concerns about continuing the current lease, which will expire in 2017. About $33 million would be needed to invest in the fairground’s deteriorating infrastructure. The committee’s worries include the need for improved parking and whether the park will gain enough revenue to become self-sustaining in the future.

It was still undecided Thursday when the Legislature will evaluate the renewal of the park’s lease. Committee Chairman Rep. Gage Froerer, R-Huntsville, urged Michael Steele, executive director of the Utah State Fairpark, to work with the Utah State Building Board to flesh out the master plan of the park’s future for maintenance and revenue.

“I think we just need to make sure that obviously the state of Utah is treated fairly in any type of lease negotiation and the revenue generated is fair to the state,” Froerer said.

Katie McKellar is a Dixie State University graduate with a bachelor of science in mass communication. Before interning at Deseret News, she reported and edited news content for Dixie Sun News, first as Photo Editor, then as Features Editor. Email: kmckellar@deseretnews.com

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