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October 3, 2000

Governor Ryan Announces Renovations to Illinois State Fairgrounds

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that the state will invest $4 million to refurbish three buildings on the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The funds will be used to renovate the Emmerson Building, the Junior Home Economics Building, and horse barn 26.

"With 150 permanent structures spread over 366 acres, the facilities at the Illinois State Fairgrounds are unparalleled," Ryan said. "The Illinois State Fair is a tradition that has been celebrating our agricultural heritage and entertaining fairgoers for 148 years, and these projects will help ensure the fair is around for the enjoyment of generations to come."

  • $2.1 million has been allocated for improvements to the Emmerson Building, which houses State Fair staff and Kids Korner, a play area for toddlers. The work will include the tuckpointing or replacement of exterior brick, the installation of new exterior doors, the construction of an aluminum and glass vestibule, and handicap accessibility modifications.

  • $1.1 million will be spent to replace the water and sewer systems and portions of the cafeteria, gym, and adjoining roofs at the Junior Home Economics Building. The electrical and fire alarm systems in the west wing showers, restrooms, and dormitory will be upgraded as well.

  • $800,000 has been committed to restore barn 26. The project involves the installation of a new roof, new doors and windows, and new plumbing, heating, and electrical wiring. It was approved after a cost/benefit analysis conducted in cooperation with the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency concluded the building is salvageable.

"The fairgrounds are full of activity nearly twelve months of the year, not just during the Illinois State Fair," Illinois Agriculture Director Joe Hampton said. "These improvements represent an investment in a valuable public asset and will enable the fairgrounds to accommodate the increasing number of civic groups, clubs, and organizations wanting to use its facilities for events."

The renovation of barn 26 is scheduled to be completed by the start of the 2001 Illinois State Fair. Work on the Emmerson and Junior Home Economics buildings will be completed in time for the 2002 Illinois State Fair.


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