The state fair is a tradition hundreds of thousands of people look forward to each year. But what if it picked up and moved from its traditional home base and moved outside the Capitol city?
Now, two mayors are battling it out.
The fair has a growing problem.
"We've outgrown our facilities. We don't have enough parking and the buildings are getting older," said fair general manager Ralph Shoptaw.
"We're bursting at the seams. We just need more land," he said.
issue facing the state fair: should it stay in the historic location on
And what's ensuing is a little less than friendly competition between two cities.
"Why should taxpayers bear the burden to come up with 150 million dollars simply to move when they've got one hundred acres and can expand with improvements and we can also come up with additional lands,” said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
North Little Rock Mayor Patrick Hays is making a case that the fair should move north of the river, especially since there's no easy access to an interstate at the current location.
“I think the access issues as well as ability to expand are significant issues," he said.
He’s suggested several tracts of land along I-30 and I-40.
But Mayor Mark Stodola says both cities signed an agreement squashing any competition.
"I think that agreement was violated by our friends to the North. They sought out the fair and suggested they move," he said.
"I don't see how that applies, second of all the city of North Little Rock was never a signator to that." Mayor Hays said.
Meanwhile, officials at the fair are weighing the options and it could be 2 or 3 years before they take action.
"We'll have to figure out a way to pay for whatever we do," said Ralph Shoptaw
Both mayors have offered to help financially. But either way, Mayor Stodola is adamant about one thing: something will be done with the fairgrounds.
"We already have a vacant ballpark that’s set there for 2 or 3 years. I am not going to have a vacant fairground. I am not going to do that."