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Jacksonville site frontrunner for state fair relocation

Arkansas' state fairgrounds are a step closer to getting a new home. Fair officials say they have their eyes on three pieces of property in Jacksonville.
Arkansas' state fairgrounds are a step closer to getting a new home.  Fair officials say they have their eyes on three pieces of property in Jacksonville.  It would make for approximately 1600 acres for the fair. 

At a meeting Tuesday night the Pulaski County Quorum Court voted to move forward with a study to determine what it will take to move the fairgrounds.  And fair officials already have an idea where they want to go.  When 16 proposed sites came in to relocate the fairgrounds, fair officials had to get to work to narrow them down.

The site off Highway 440, north of I-40 in Jacksonville, along with two adjoining sites are at the top of the list.

State fair manager Ralph Shoptaw says the fair needs more room and more modern facilities to be up to par with other state fairgrounds.  Then there's the issue of accessibility.  When the fairgrounds moved to their current location, over 70 years ago, Roosevelt was a major highway. That's no longer the case.

At the Pulaski County Quorum Court meeting county leaders voted to hire a company to study what kind of fairgrounds the state needs and whether the market could support an upgrade.  Justice of the Peace Phil Stowers says the study is necessary especially if fair officials decide to relocate.  Judge Buddy Villanes says the county would benefit either way.

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