Tag Archives: Utah State Fair Park

Utah Legislature Action Show Challenges to Utah Fairpark Future

As the Utah State Legislature passed the half-way mark for this year’s legislative session, the future of the Utah State Fairpark remains unresolved. A subcommittee fails to recommend that the State implement a 50-year lease as authorized in 2010. Another subcommittee considers requiring that private developers and State agencies be given the opportunity to express interest in developing the
White Ball Field.

At stake is an agreement between the Utah State Fair, Inc. and the REAL Salt Lake major-league soccer to team to construct an 8,000-seat stadium to house a new minor league soccer team, the Real Salt Lake Monarchs, at the Utah State Fairpark. The REAL Salt Lake will cover the projected $18 million cost of the new stadium.

But this agreement is contingent on several factors: First, the soccer franchise wants a lease of at least 40 years. Second, the lease must be in place by April 23, anticipating the 2017 soccer season. Finally, there is the question of the availability of the White Ball Field, the vacant property across North Temple to the south of the Fairpark, for parking.

A 40-year lease for the soccer team is impossible unless the lease the Utah State Fair, Inc. has with the State for the use of the Fairpark is extended for at least 40 years. In recent years, the nonprofit corporation has operated with much shorter leases with the State. Its current lease expires 2017. The Utah State Fair, Inc. is also approaching the Legislature for $675,000 for ongoing maintenance and improvement of Utah State Fairpark property and $100,000 to conduct a study on the best ways to enlarge the Fairpark’s rodeo grandstand.fair

To-date, the Utah State Fair experienced a set-back with the failure of the Natural Resources, Agriculture, Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee toendorse a motion to require the State to sign a 50-year lease for the Fairpark, as was authorized by the Legislature in 2010.

Another complicating factor is that, several years ago, the lease for the use of the White Ball Field for parking was separated from the lease for the Fairpark property. In the current arrangement, the State can assume direct control of the White Ball Field with just a 30-day notice.

As a result, a new challenge to the Utah State Fair/ REAL Salt Lake deal is that members of the Legislative appropriations subcommittee, Infrastructure and General
Government, have expressed concern with leasing the White Ball Field to the Utah State Fair, Inc. for parking without opening up a “Request for Information” process for others, including the State of Utah, to state an interest in using the property for other purposes. For example, in last year’s study on possible future uses of the White Ball Field and the Utah Fairpark, the State’s need for more office
space was identified as a possible use for the property. According to State administrators, this process will take three to five months, a time-frame that extends well beyond the April 23rd agreement with the Utah State Fair, Inc.

This year’s session of the Utah Legislature ends at midnight on March 12th. No issue is closed until this day. In the discussions in the Legislative subcommittees, the support of the communities surrounding the Utah Fairpark has been
continually mentioned. It is important that the Fairpark Community continues to express its hopes for the future of the Fairpark.

To keep up-to-date on the status of Utah Fairpark issues in the Legislature and what actions residents can take to support a successful future for the Fairpark, visit fairparkcommunity.org.

State Fairpark Update

Fairpark board wants to pursue discussions with Hansen,
RSL Published on Sep 22, 2014 05:21PM The Utah State Fairpark
board is eager to pursue a partnership with Dell Loy Hansen and
Real Salt Lake. That much is clear. But if the club’s owner and
the Fairpark are to officially enter contract negotiations regarding
the building of a potential minor-league soccer stadium to house
the club’s USL Pro team, the Real Monarchs, other developments
need to progress. Fairpark executive director Michael Steele said
Monday the board came away extremely impressed after Hansen
made his pitch on Sept. 10.

“I haven’t heard really of any detractors,” Steele said. “It’s about
getting the correct deal for the team and the Fairpark.” The Utah
State Fairpark Corporation’s lease on the Fairpark grounds
expires on June 30, 2017, but upgrades on facilities within the
park need to be made for the longevity of the grounds.

fair parkSteele said per the terms of the lease, any improvements made
on the grounds over $100,000 immediately become property of
the state of Utah. Which means Hansen’s potential stadium —
after the planned 40-to-50-year-lease — would be donated to the
Fairpark Corporation and then become an asset of the state. Now, it’s ensuring the landmark deal benefits the Fairpark and its long-term survival. “The board wants to pursue this and that was right from the meeting,” Steele said. “They want to pursue discussions with Real and Dell Loy…but by no means will this soccer complex save the Utah State Fairpark.  It will help.

“Steele said the rodeo grounds must be renovated and an expo
center must be constructed to help boost the overall versatility of
the Fairpark.

Located a few blocks west of downtown Salt Lake City, the
Fairpark has been in discussion with the state on extending its
lease on the 65 acres despite decades of dealing with struggles
and lack of funding to maintain the historic buildings. Hansen’s
stadium pitch — estimated to be as much as $18 million —
would be paid for solely out of his own pocket, which would allow
the Fairpark to avoid needing taxpayer money for upgrades or
subsidies from the state.

The stadium, which would feature artificial turf, is expected to
seat 6-to-8,000 and be ready for the Monarchs to begin play in
2016. In the mean time, Steele anticipates further negotiation
with Hansen, Gov. Herbert and the legislature to continue in the
next couple of weeks. While the Fairpark board wants to engage
in official discussions with RSL, the next part of the process turns
to the nailing down how a new master plan of the grounds can
generate revenue and impact business along 10th West and North