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Utah State Fair Park to Legislature: Soccer stadium would provide necessary boost

Courtesy of Utah State Fair Park

Utah's state fair has reached a tipping point, and the Real Monarchs stadium that would be funded privately and exclusively by Dell Loy Hansen is hanging in the balance.

After being privatized by the state, the fair park has found it difficult to be profitable outside of the annual state fair. Because of that, there's a distinct possibility that the Utah State Legislature won't pass a lease extension, upon which the Monarchs stadium is contingent.

Roger Beattie, chairman of the Utah State Fair Park board of directors, told the state legislature's Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee that the state fair was at a "dangerous precipice," and without short-term operational funding, it might perish.

Below is a large excerpt of his speech to the subcommittee.

This sports facility would bring thousands upon thousands of patrons onto the fairgrounds, all providing the opportunity to capitalize on new revenue-generating activities such as new parking revenues, food and beverage sales, and concession revenues. A minimum new revenue stream of $3,300,000 is guaranteed in this relationship, at a rate of $100,000 per year, increasing 5 percent per annum, for the first 20 years of the 40 year lease.

The $23 million facility would also be available for fair park use in other revenue generating activities, not only doing during the 11 day run of the fair, but at any time Real Salt Lake does not have scheduled activities, and this only at a cost of basic maintenance and utilities incurred during fair park scheduled events. This opportunity is a direct result of the fair park board of governors following suggestions made in two major recent studies done on the fair park.

These studies mesh exactly with the master plan produced by the fair park, and all agree on what is needed to produce sufficiency. The fair park wishes to thank Mike Steele for reaching out to Real Salt Lake to begin discussions, and his tireless efforts over most of the last of the entire year to make this opportunity a real possibility.

Necessary operational funding as well as the support to pursue this very time critical opportunity. We believe strongly that we do not have the luxury of kicking this can further down the road. We further believe that now is the time to act, and that after all of our outreach and all of our analysis and planning, the opportunity at hand represents potential we must simply not allow to pass by.

With no state investment, no debt, 100 percent funding of $23 million or more coming from the private sector, when coupled with the opportunity to consistently produce ongoing and escalating revenues to the fair park, we believe this to be a truly unique opportunity that, again, exactly matches the studies completed and follows the specific instructions given by the state of Utah to the fair park.

We are to develop the park to where it no longer needs state support, and this will be the first major step. We stand at a threshold to a brighter future for the fair park, however as well as what we believe to be a dangerous precipice if we fail to act. We would appreciate very much your support. — Roger Beattie, Feb. 6, to Utah State Legislature Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee