East Texas State Fair seeks new location

1/31/17 CBS19 News at 10 p.m.

TYLER - The City of Tyler released the final three concepts of its Rose Complex Master Plan Tuesday -- all of which would require the East Texas State Fair to move from its location just off Front Street.

Along with the fair, the Rose Complex currently houses the Rose Garden Center, Harvey Convention Center, and Tyler ISD football and baseball fields.

During a Tuesday night community input meeting, a consultant on the project explained the overlapping of these venues in a tight space creates issues.

No matter which design they choose, the city hopes to create more parking, renovate or relocate Harvey Convention Center, develop retail and add a park in the complex.

The consultant said the improvements rolled out over 20 years would also include "a transition plan" for the East Texas State Fair to a new space when its lease with the city expires in 2026.

"My concern is what is the plan for the East Texas State Fair," said retired agriculture teacher Charles Parmley, who attended the meeting.

Dozens of fair stakeholders, including local agricultural science students, rallied together at Tuesday's meeting.

John Sykes, president & CEO of the East Texas State Fair, said the organization faces space and facility limitations in its current location and purchased a larger piece of land 12 years ago in hopes of moving. However, the non-profit has not been able to raise enough money.

"The result of tonight's deal is we have to find a place to move the fair, and we have to do it as a community -- not as them, or they, or us, but together," Sykes said.

Former state senator and Tyler mayor Kevin Eltife, who serves as chairman of the of the Rose Complex Master Plan steering committee, echoed a desire for collaboration in finding the fair a new home.

"It is about a partnership," he said. "...We're all in this together, so the question is 'how can you make this complex the best bang for the taxpayers and make it something we're all proud of over the next 10-15 years?'"

The steering committee will meet Wednesday afternoon.

According to a timeline posted on the city's website, the committee plans to finalize the Rose Complex Master Plan by June.

© 2017 KYTX-TV


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