About $8 million in new upgrades and repairs will be starting soon at the sprawling state fairgrounds in west-central Missouri’s Sedalia.
Senate Transportation, Infrastructure and Public Safety Committee Chairman Doug Libla, R-Poplar Bluff, pushed for the repairs and spoke about the issue on the Senate floor, even though his southeast Missouri district is 260 miles away from Sedalia.
“You know I’m from Poplar Bluff, a long ways from here. But we (residents in his southeast Missouri district) take a lot of pride in our state, we take a lot of pride in our state fair. We take a lot of pride in our FFA kids, and our students get to come here (Sedalia) and learn about agriculture,” Libla says.
Senator Libla, who represents eight southeast Missouri counties, tells Missourinet that investing more money in state fairgrounds facilities will pay dividends in the future. He also says the state fair is an opportunity for urban children to hear about farming.
“We need to make sure our farm families are being taken care of, make sure they’re being represented, and this (the state fair) is a good way for the urban kids to also learn about agriculture,” says Libla.
A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) told Missourinet on Friday that the $8 million in projects at the state fairgrounds are all in various stages of development, with design, bid or construction starting soon.
A complete electrical upgrade to the swine barn is planned, along with a new 150-site campground for exhibitors only. Planned improvements also include a complete renovation to the old sheep pavilion.
Governor Mike Parson and State Fair Director Mark Wolfe say more than 337,000 people attended the State Fair in August.
U.S. Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, who represents southern Missouri, says the seven Bootheel counties produce more than one-third of the agricultural products for the entire state. Smith represents the eight counties that Libla represents in the Senate.
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