The Pueblo Chieftan

Letter: Best venue for fair

I was dismayed to see the article about the Colorado State Fair that was on the front page last week, where Denver-area legislators claimed that moving the Colorado State Fair to another part of the state, would improve the Fair’s long-term viability.

This relocation would leave Pueblo and the Southern Colorado area just plain out of luck regardless of how much good the fair does for people who live here.

Moving the State Fair from Southern Colorado is a short-sighted idea that won’t benefit the Fair or the state as a whole.

Pueblo is uniquely suited to host the Fair.

Even the staff of the state’s budget committee admitted that there are no other facilities in Colorado that could host the State Fair, and that duplicating Pueblo’s facilities elsewhere would cost more than $280 million.

Moving the Fair to another location would be an extremely poor – and costly – decision.

Denver legislators who advocate for moving the Fair don’t realize how much the Fair benefits not just Southern Colorado, but young people from across the state that participate in 4-H and FFA.

The Fair officials choose to charge these young people lower program fees to ensure that families of any means can participate.

A different facility in another part of the state likely wouldn’t provide all the facilities for young people, such as dorms, that allow young people to participate at such a low cost.

Additionally, local officials such as Chris Wiseman from the Pueblo Chamber of Commerce and the staff of the Fair have thought of many creative ways to increase the Fair’s revenue.

This year the Fair implemented new technologies for ticketing and concessions that improved revenues by $60,000.

The new Colorado State Fair Foundation has collected more than $140,000 in donations to fund improvements to the dorms used to host the fair’s young attendees in the 4-H and FFA programs.

Fair officials are working on adding to the current list of groups and organizations currently making use of the Colorado State Fairgrounds, such as hosting the Annual Rocky Mountain Street Rod Nationals, the Little Britches Rodeo, numerous horse and RV shows and local civic events.

These events generate a huge economic impact for the Southern Colorado area, and that economic impact is reflected in the tax revenues deposited in city, county and state coffers.

The years of work that have gone into these efforts cannot be easily duplicated if the Fair were held in another location. Pueblo has a proud history of hosting the State Fair since 1872, and can continue to do so.

Moving the Fair to another part of the state – presumably the Denver-metro area – would upend more than 140 years of history without benefiting anyone.

Attempts to concentrate everything in the Denver Metro area is not a good policy.

Colorado lawmakers need to realize that what is good for Southern, Western, or Northeastern Colorado can also be good for the state as a whole.

Senator George Rivera

Colorado State Senate District 3

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