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Old Posted Dec 15, 2011, 5:17 PM
JoninATX JoninATX is offline
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City, State Fair to Replace Fair Park Livestock Arena With Fancy "Mini-Convention Center"

By Robert WilonskyThu., Dec. 15 2011 at 9:46 AM

The reason I called Park and Rec's second-in-command Willis Winters the other day wasn't about downtown parks. Rather, I was curious about an $869,465 item on the Park Board's agenda for today: "Consider a professional services contract with Good, Fulton & Farrell Architects for schematic design through construction administration services for a new livestock arena at Fair Park located at 1419 South Washington Avenue."

Turns out, this is about much, much more than just a new livestock arena. Says Winters, the city and the State Fair of Texas are partnering on a $14-million-ish replacement facility -- the Fair Park Livestock Center -- that would double as a sort of "mini-convention center," as he describes it, a place for livestock and people. People, mostly.

Says Winters, the livestock arena's become "decrepit" and is in desperate need of replacing. But rather than just build a modern indoor sales arena where folks can auction off their blue-ribbon steers during the State Fair, they've decided to go all-out with a facility that would serve as a conference center, complete with an upstairs banquet hall, dining facilities and a catering kitchen. The city will cover around $4.5 million of the cost, using money from the 2006 bond program. "And the State Fair will be raising funds privately for the remainder," says Winters, "somewhere around $9, $10 million."
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