AZ State fair looking for input on future site re-development

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

It's 113 years old, and soon the Arizona State Fairgrounds could be getting a facelift. Right now fair directors are looking for public input.

"Are there ways we can better utilize the fairgrounds? Are there ways we can change space to maybe make it more usable," Arizona State Fair Director Wanell Costello asks?

Before they make any moves, they're asking for the community's input to answer some of those important questions. 

"I think that's one of the unique things about this process is there really are no pre-conceived ideas, nothing is off of the table," said Costello. 

But some worry what changes could mean for the oldest buildings on the property. 

"As a resident of one of one of the neighborhoods around the fairgrounds, we're really concerned about keeping and preserving the fairgrounds. These have been around since before Arizona was a state," said Brent Kleinman with the Encanto Palmcroft Historic Preservation Association. "The fears most definitely are the buildings get razed and new construction and new development goes in there."

It's those kinds of concerns the fair group hopes to hear more about.

"We all recognize that we have some beautiful features in our buildings," said Costello. "If you preserve the past you also have to make it work for the future, so how do we marry those two?" 

Starting Thursday and continuing through the weekend, the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board, the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office and the Governor’s Office are hosting a planning "Charrette" to create a vision for the future use of the 88-acres site.

A Charrette is an intensive planning session where citizens and designers collaborate on a vision for development, giving everyone who participates a chance to be a mutual author of the plan.


6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. - Kick-off reception. Charrette team welcome the general public;
opportunity to meet the participating agencies and representatives. 


9 a.m. - 11 a.m. - Public tour of Fairground buildings, discussion history and current use.
1:30 - 5 pm - Panel Sessions. Discuss issues and ideas for future development
with stakeholders; including State Fair employees, vendors and neighborhood


10 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Workday. Charrette team creates visualizations for ideas
developed during tour and and panel session. Open to the public.

1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Presentation of Charrette team’s effort.

Their ideas will be complied and made public in May. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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