- Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2016

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) - Kansas State Fair officials are considering a major redesign of the fairgrounds in Hutchinson.

The Hutchinson News reports (https://bit.ly/1oKqiab ) all of the current proposals are long-range ideas but the goal is to make the fairgrounds a more modern attraction.

Chip Overton, with Keffer/Overton Associates, presented six concepts to the fair board this week. The company is developing a master plan, which came out of the need to renovate some of the fair’s buildings that weren’t part of a $29 million revamp funded by the Legislature in 2001.

Overton also spoke with 80 people who were part of focus groups that provided feedback on how the fair could create a better identity and more user-friendly grounds.

All of Overton’s concepts include renovating the Expo Center, reconfiguring the main thoroughfares and creating a main street that would include items unique to Kansas.

“Quaint shops, wine tasting, maybe an impromptu restaurant, something that makes it a little bit different than just a fair,” Overton said.

Part of the plan also includes addressing a few aging buildings, which is about 9 percent of the total infrastructure.

Fair board member Sue Schlapp said she hoped that the new plans would allow the fair to become more inclusive.

“It is perceived by the average person that it is about the kids, 4-H, you can go there and get a hot dog on a stick, all very nice,” she said. “But I don’t know if that is something that takes me out of my living room. I don’t have an answer, but I think we are missing something.”

The plan is expected to be finished by May.

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Information from: The Hutchinson (Kan.) News, https://www.hutchnews.com


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