The State Fair of Texas just got approval to remain in Fair Park for another 20 years. But the decision was not without controversy.
Some council members felt the long-term contract was being rushed through. They only just saw the two-decade-long contract Friday. Both Fair Park First and the State Fair of Texas said on Wednesday that the move will bring stability.
The State Fair will stay at Dallas's Fair Park until 2038.
“We’re ecstatic about it,” said State Fair of Texas President Mitchell Glieber.
For outgoing Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, the new deal with the State Fair and the deal to turn Fair Park into a year-round destination is a signature accomplishment.
“Since I became mayor, the one thing I wanted to do was get Fair Park in a great place,” he said. “It's two parts to that. One is getting Fair Park First to manage the park and second was to work with State Fair to make sure they're going to be good partners. Putting them on that footing and extending that contract is a huge strategic issue for the city.”
But three city council members who voted against the contract disagreed.
“This council does whatever the State Fair wants every single time,” said Councilman Philip Kingston. “Every time, they're allowed to run roughshod over there. And all these council members, this is their audition for the State Fair Board.”
Kingston wanted a contract that required more of the State Fair.
“We're doing nothing to preserve the historic buildings and nothing to get rid of the ring of concrete around the park that serves as a moat to keep out the people of South Dallas,” Kingston said.
Fair Park First, which will begin overseeing Fair Park's operations on January 1, says they haven't had the time to see how the contract will impact the bottom line. Even so, they supported the deal.
“Stability,” said Fair Park First President Darren James. “This is a stabilizing force.”
The State Fair did make two concessions. The fair will now pay for all of the costs to police the fair and agreed to pay their employees at least $11.15 an hour.