The following are facts, according to the Saline County Fairplex committee:
The Saline County Fairplex is a unique facility designed to accommodate a wide variety of events, offering fresh state-of-the-art design, flexible spaces and the ability to host multiple events simultaneously.
The Fairplex will have the ability to host a wide variety of events. Expect to see activity ranging from concerts and sporting events, to trade shows, expos, rodeos, to graduations and monster trucks.
• Spring 2008: Benton A&P Comsn sent RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to three architectural firms. After interviews and evaluations, GH2/Gralla was the selected firm.
• Steering Committee formed: Lanny Fite, Saline Co Judge; Edward Jetton, Pres of Saline Co Fair; Eddie Black, Exec Dir Benton Area Chamber of Comm; Steve Brown, Chairman Benton Parks, Acxiom; Charles Cunningham, Benton Alderman; Robin Bray, Director, Bray Equestrian Ctr; Alan Jessup, Pres Bank of the Ozarks-Saline County, Pres. Benton Chamber, Chairman A&P Comsn
• From September 2008-April 2009, monthly sessions held with a variety of user groups; narrowed focus of facility design and function, w focus on the Fairplex being highly usable, and booked continually with a variety of events.
• April-June 2009, Economic Impact and Feasibility studies completed by Crossroads Consulting in Tampa, FL.
• June 2009, Master Plan completed.
• July 2009-March 2010, Fairplex plan shown to 30+ groups around Saline Co (Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, Chambers of Comm, City Councils, Quorum Ct, POAs, Realtors Assoc, Builders Assoc+) and Gov Beebe, Sen Pryor and Lincoln, Cong Snyder, other elected officials at every level of federal, state and local government.
The Fairplex initiative has gained a wide base of support from citizens, business owners and organizations throughout Saline County and Central Arkansas.
The Fairplex has letters of intent from several large corporations for sponsorship opportunities. Conversations have been held with interested parties from the hospitality industry on the development of the Fairplex for private investment in new businesses which will be necessary and profitable with the opening of the Fairplex.
The Fairplex will have 6 primary elements: Multi-use Exhibit Halls and community buildings • Main Arena • Fair Midway • Covered open-air arenas • Barns • Picnic/Pavilions/Dog Park (Pictures)
EVENTS AND USAGE
Multipurpose Arena • Emergency Shelter • LEEDS construction • H.S. Graduations & Proms • Basketball Championships • Concerts • Rodeo • Monster Trucks • Animal Auctions • AR Game & Fish • Car, Boat, RV Shows • Trade Shows • Arkansas BASS Clubs • Homebuilders Show • Conferences • Sports & Trade Shows • Memphis Flea Market • Training Clinics
Exhibit Halls / Community Buildings • Multi-use facilities for up to 1200 people • Self-catering kitchens • Flexible space for 25+ people • Outdoor courtyard/meeting space • Non-profits, civic orgs. • Reunions, Showers, Anniversaries & Birthdays • Quilters, Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions • Razorback Fish Fry • Savor the Flavor/Cajun Feast • Senior Activities • School Activities
Midway • County Fair • Dixie Car Club • Kite Fest • RV/Boat Shows • Emergency Triage training • Recruitment • Military ceremonies
Creates 800+ jobs during 18-24 mo construction
Creates 300+ jobs after opening (Restaurants 17%, Construction 10%, Hotels 17%, Business Services 11%, Transportation 7%, Retail Trade 17%, Entertainment 22%)
350,000+ visitors/year to Saline County, spending more than $30 Million dollars in our local economy
Direct + Induced Spending during Construction: $ 89,000,000
Direct + Induced Spending annually after opening: $32,000,000 per year
Brings a new economic driver, with the dollars spent by visitors
For the City of Bryant, expenditures in Bryant related to the Fairplex are expected to be $ 7.2 million to $8.85 million each year
Utilizes land already owned primarily by County and City governments
Enhances and revitalizes western Saline County
Brings facilities to Saline County that can host sporting events, trade shows, boat/RV shows, concerts, graduations, proms, rodeos, equestrian events, monster truck shows, flea markets, fishing shows, hunting shows and more
Provides facilities to Saline County Citizens for community events, wedding showers, family reunions, fundraisers and more
Provides a facility to bridge the gap between our rural and city center areas
Provides facilities to support the 4H, FFA, Future Homemakers & livestock farmers.
Fills a niche not available within 300 miles of Saline County
Provides a catalyst for economic growth and private investment in new restaurants, hotels, retail and service businesses
Allows Arkansas a slice of the $ 102 Billion dollar equestrian industry
Supports and expands our tax base without a permanent tax increase.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who will own the Fairplex? The Fairplex will be owned by the citizens of Saline County. Who will run the Fairplex? The Fairplex will be run by a Public Facilities Board. (PFB) The PFB will have representatives from across Saline County, who will be appointed by the County Judge, Lanny Fite. The PFB will set policy, and an independent management firm will be hired to run the facility day-to-day. Who can use the Fairplex? Anyone can use the Fairplex. Areas set aside with priority for Saline county citizens include the Community Centers, the midway, the picnic areas and the covered arenas. Will the tax be forever? No, the tax will “sunset” as soon as the bonds are retired. There will be no permanent sales and use tax associated with the Fairplex. The bonds to build the Fairplex are expected to retire in five to six years. Why did the Benton A&P take the lead on the project? Under state statute and Benton ordinance, the A&P is allowed to expend funds for the development, design, construction, maintenance or repair on an events facility, as long as the facility is located in the county where the A&P operates. In other words, the A&P could have developed this plan for virtually any suitable tract of land in Saline County. Who will be located at the Fairplex? As of now, it is anticipated that the Saline County Fair Board, and the management company will have offices at the Fairplex. If there is extra space, it may come to pass that the space is leased out to other compatible entities at market rates.
Replies to This Discussion
Reply by Brad Moore on July 26, 2010 at 10:26am
Your vote WILL set the course of Saline County for GENERATIONS TO COME…
The temporary sales tax will NOT add $1,000 to the purchase price of a new construction home in Saline County. The average new construction home in Saline County is sold for $160,000. If the 1% temporary sales tax for the Fairplex is passed, $560 will be included in the $160,000 which is sales tax paid on the cost of raw materials to build the home.
Saline County is NOT running out of water…
Saline County has been discussing the FUTURE NEED for ADDITIONAL water resources for MORE THAN 50 YEARS. There IS continuation (thankfully) of that same discussion
The Saline River has NOT run dry in my lifetime (46 years).
Facilities of this type have NEVER been paid for by private developers…
Private developers WILL RESPOND to our investment with hotels, restaurants and retail…
The $60,000 DONOR GROUP wishes to remain anonymous (as most folks desire that make private contributions to public groups). Please respect their privacy…
The OPPOSITION DONOR GROUP wishes to remain anonymous. Please respect their privacy…
The Fairplex WILL OFFER A BENEFIT to every county resident. Regardless of the proximity to Watts Field…
The NET RETURN on tax payer investment will be $110,000,000 during the construction phase of the Fairplex…
The GENERAL FUND of EVERY sales-tax based municipal budget that receives retail sales revenues will benefit…
The sales tax revenues generated by the FAIRPLEX will serve as the FUNDING MECHANISM FOR A FUTURE SALINE COUNTY RESERVOIR if the voters so desire…
Did Saline County argue about WHO will pay for the NEW COUNTY COURTHOUSE prior to the completion of construction in 1902?
What is the value of your quality of life in Saline County?
Do you realize that IF you make $60,000 of retail purchases in 2011 (that is a lot of purchasing), your county-wide temporary sales tax investment in the Fairplex will be $600?
Vote YES! for the FAIRPLEX on or before AUGUST 10th…
Reply by Brad Moore on July 26, 2010 at 10:47am
The NET RETURN on taxpayer investment will be $110,000,000 during the 5 – 7 year term of the bonds (not during the construction phase of the project).
Reply by Duck Bill on August 7, 2010 at 1:52am
Thanks for posting the facts.
Reply by Johnny McMahan on August 7, 2010 at 1:48pm
I’m confused about the word “niche” in what it exactly means in this context.
I read on page 21 of the “Financial and Economic/Fiscal Impact Analysis for the Proposed New Central Arkansas Fairplex in Saline County” by Crossroads Consulting that lists the following event centers/arenas/fairgrounds, which are all within 300 miles of Benton:
Claremore Expo Center (OK); Expo Square, Tulsa; Four States Arena, Texarkana; Mississippi State Fairgrounds, Jackson; Mississippi State University, Starkville; Missouri Entertainment and Event Center, Springfield; Oklahoma State Fair Park, Oklahoma City; Tunica Expo and Arena, (MS); Will Rogers Coliseum, Fort Worth.
Reply by Shelli Poole on August 7, 2010 at 7:05pm
Good question, but I’m not the one who has the answer. Jill? Brad?