Whether it's the Illinois State Fairgrounds or your own house, deferring maintenance is a gamble. The director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Bob Flider, says plans for a new power infrastructure are coming together. “I think everybody recalls about eight or ten years ago when the system could have disabled the entire fairgrounds, and the fair may not have been able to go on,” says Flider.
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“The governor has targeted about $3 million for electrical system upgrades. That's still only going to get us a little more than halfway there, but it is progress, and this is a facility that we need to take care of.” That's just one thing, and it's something you can't see – and wouldn't notice until it fails. There are also leaky roofs and the like.
Flider points to two positives: a bill which is working its way through the General Assembly that would create a foundation to receive and process donations for maintenance and construction projects at the fairgrounds; and a just-released University of Illinois study reporting a $86 million “business volume” for the Springfield area economy from last year's fair.