Monroe fair gets money to improve

MONROE – The Evergreen State Fairgrounds will get a funding boost of about $400,000 in 2006 to improve some of its aging facilities.

The fairgrounds has yet to figure out exactly how to use the money, a windfall from a projected increase in real estate excise taxes collected from home sales in Snohomish County, fair manager Mark Campbell said.

The money could help the fairgrounds identify future needs for improvements and to tackle some immediate projects, including electrical updates, remodeled restrooms and improving the grandstand entrance and seats, Campbell said.

“It’s an excellent start. It’s something we need and are grateful for,” Campbell said.

The fairgrounds hasn’t received major improvements since fixing roof leaks and other works in the arena in 2002, he said.

The revenue boost will be in addition to $50,000 the county allocates annually for the fairgrounds, Campbell said.

Meanwhile, in 2006 the fairgrounds expects to generate about $3.7 million from the Evergreen State Fair and other events, Campbell said. After paying expenses, it expects to pool about $220,000 in a project fund.

“We’ve been self-sufficient; we pay our own bills,” he said.

Investments in the fairgrounds would help it garner more money on its own, County Council member Dave Gossett said.

He said $400,000 won’t meet all the needs for fairground improvements. The county has yet to figure out how to allocate more funding, he said.

“We do it a step at a time,” Gossett said.

Campbell said the fairgrounds is short of exhibit space and wants to do some work on its Evergreen Speedway auto racing track. But it first needs to create a specific, complete blueprint for improvements before calculating how much money it would take to meet all the needs.

The fairgrounds, originally built in the 1940s, hosts more than 1,000 nonfair events a year, including car shows and auto races, which attracted about 163,600 people this year, he said. This year’s fair drew about 837,000 visitors.

The fairgrounds depends increasingly on revenue from nonfair events, Campbell said. In the future, it wants to add more recreational vehicle shows, sportsman’s shows and similar events.

Reporter Yoshiaki Nohara: 425-339-3029 or

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