July 15, 2024

Illinois State Fairgrounds master plan released

Proposed improvements to the Illinois State Fairgrounds include the creation of a “Town Square” south of the Midway to improve aesthetics and navigability of the grounds, development of an onsite hotel property and expanded staffing to include dedicated sales and marketing functions.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, has released a new master plan for the Illinois State Fairgrounds aimed at maintaining the core functions of the fairgrounds while increasing its year-round events, attendance and revenue generation.

“The Illinois State Fairgrounds draws hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

“When combined with the $58.1 million we invested in repairs and improvements, this master plan not only creates a future-focused blueprint for continued growth and success, but it also ensures that the Illinois State Fairgrounds is among the best in the nation.”

The partnership to develop a master plan was spurred from a local community visioning initiative called The Next 10 that the community foundation launched in 2020 to spark fresh conversations about the Greater Springfield Area’s future.

Reimagining the state fairgrounds emerged as a centerpiece of The Next 10 because of its potential to ignite social and economic activity across the region.

“It is our responsibility to plan today for a strong and prosperous future for the Illinois State Fairgrounds,” said IDOA Director Jerry Costello II.

“Partnering with the community foundation allowed us to develop thoughtful long-term options to revitalize the fairgrounds and ensure that generations to come enjoy these 366 acres that showcase Illinois agriculture, the state’s No. 1 industry.”

Proposed improvements to the fairgrounds include the creation of a “Town Square” south of the Midway to improve aesthetics and navigability of the grounds, development of an onsite hotel property and expanded staffing to include dedicated sales and marketing functions.

“This plan provides a comprehensive strategy for the future of the fairgrounds,” said John Stremsterfer, president of the community foundation.

“The community foundation was pleased to fund the development of this plan and looks forward to the state of Illinois’ continued strategic investments in this iconic and treasured property on the north end of Springfield.”

Illinois-based Johnson Consulting was the lead firm in developing the master plan, with the assistance of firms MIG, CDSmith, JGMA and Hanson Professional Services.

Through philanthropic services, strategic grant-making and community leadership, the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln “connects people who care with causes that matter.”

The Next 10 is a special initiative of the community foundation. To learn more, visit tn10.org.

AgriNews Staff

AgriNews Staff

The Illinois AgriNews and Indiana AgriNews staff is in the field each week, covering topics that affect local farm families and their businesses. We give readers information they can’t get elsewhere to help them make better farming decisions.