SPRINGFIELD – State Representative Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) joined Governor Bruce Rauner in applauding the launch of the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation on Agricultural Day at the Illinois State Fair. Their mission will be to assist capital improvements at the Springfield and DuQuoin fairgrounds.
“The State Fair experience, especially youth involved in agriculture, is one that should continue for years to come. This effort is to be applauded and encouraged throughout Illinois,” said Rep. Demmer. “In my own district, I have seen how well a Foundation can support the efforts of a state program at the Franklin Creek State Park.
Their foundation has helped in a big way to continue some capital improvements and even support in operations during tumultuous times with state funding. This is a model that should be encouraged, expanded, and provides a real opportunity for growth.” Governor Rauner advocated, “A foundation is the best way to ensure that the fairgrounds get the upgrades and renovations necessary for these important assets. And it allows the fairgrounds to be less reliant on state money while putting no additional costs on the taxpayers. This is a win for taxpayers and the agricultural community as a whole.”
The Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield includes more than 170 buildings spanning 360 acres of land, with buildings as old as 124 years. The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds includes more than 20 buildings spread across over 1200 acres of land, with buildings as old as 93 years. Many of the buildings on both fairgrounds are in dire need of restoration, including paint, plumbing, roofing, and structural repairs. Combined, the fairgrounds carry $180 million in deferred maintenance costs.
Leaders in the agricultural community established the Illinois Fairgrounds Foundation to promote, support, assist, and sustain the Springfield and Du Quoin State and Fairgrounds. The foundation will be led by a volunteer board representing a diverse cross-section of the agriculture industry. Board members will engage with private sector business organizations and individuals to develop strategies to raise private funding, coordinate with the Department of Agriculture to plan projects and determine the Fairgrounds’ needs, and serve as ambassadors for the revitalization and improvement of the Fairgrounds and their agricultural heritage.