(Denver, CO) -- Colorado lawmakers in Denver decided Monday that the State Fair needed a boost as they discussed the state fair master plan bill, or Senate Bill 22-134 on a third and final reading.
Eastern Colorado Representative Rod Pelton went to the mic to speak on the bill saying that Pueblo needs the economic activity that the fair brings. "It's a great place to showcase uh 4h FFA kids and their projects, the best of the best go there," Pelton said.
Representative Richard Holtorf pointed out that he feels it's important to invest in the state fair. He says often times it gets overlooked. Holtorf said he knows his colleagues wanted to move it north but it should stay in Pueblo because of the tradition and history it has there.
The master plan for the bill calls for four million dollars to be appropriated to help fix up aging facilities in Pueblo at the state fairgrounds.
This excerpt from the bill explains why sponsors wrote the bill:
A historic asset to Colorado with a legacy in Pueblo spanning 11 over one hundred fifty years, the Colorado state fair fairgrounds are 12 currently facing many issues common to fairs across the country, 13 including aging facilities, limited funding, competing venues, operational 14 losses, and a backlog of building deficiencies. The Colorado state fair 15 authority board created a master plan that details the solutions to these 16 challenges. 17 (c) The Colorado state fair is a crucial economic driver for Pueblo 18 and southern Colorado, an affordable and accessible amenity for a diverse 19 population, and a cultural asset for all of Colorado. It is important that Colorado, in conjunction with other contributing parties through gifts, 21 grants, or donations, make investments in the future of the Colorado state 22 fair.
Representative Holtorf continued, "This four million dollars is the start but if we would take a ten year investment over time and think about what we could have at the end of that ten years then the state fair will be a jewel in our crown for Colorado Agriculture."
Representative Stephanie Luck, who represents Otero County, spoke out on the third reading that she loves the fair and wants it to stay in Pueblo, she said the state fair is a great chance to showcase what our youth and our state has to offer. She did, however, mention that she would be a no vote.
"Even though I love the state fair so much and do believe we need to see a resurgence of it, because it really does allow for all of our state to come together and be cohesive and be united, I do object to the way this bill is structured," she said. Representative Luck offered that she would rather see the state loan the money to the state fair to make improvements needed rather than appropriate the money.
Luck elaborated that it's possible to have a state fair that sustains itself and that is able to pay those dollars back. She explained that is why she was a no vote on the bill.
The bill passed on a third and final reading and is now headed to Governor Jared Polis to sign into law.