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New Master Plan Released for Illinois State Fairgrounds

The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln, has released a new master plan for the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield aimed at maintaining the core functions of the Fairgrounds while increasing its year-round events, attendance, and revenue generation.

"The Illinois State Fairgrounds draw hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the world,” said Governor JB Pritzker. "When combined with the $58.1 million we invested in repairs and improvements, this master plan not only creates a future-focused blueprint for continued growth and success, but it also ensures that the Illinois State Fairgrounds are among the best in the nation.”

The partnership to develop a master plan was spurred from a local community visioning initiative called The Next 10 that the Community Foundation launched in 2020 to spark fresh conversations about the Greater Springfield Area’s future. Reimagining the State Fairgrounds emerged as a centerpiece of The Next 10 because of its potential to ignite social and economic activity across the region.

"It is our responsibility to plan today for a strong and prosperous future for the Illinois State Fairgrounds,” said IDOA Director Jerry Costello II. "Partnering with the Community Foundation allowed us to develop thoughtful long-term options to revitalize the Fairgrounds and ensure that generations to come enjoy these 366 acres that showcase Illinois agriculture, the state’s number one industry.”

Proposed improvements to the Fairgrounds include the creation of a "Town Square” south of the Midway to improve aesthetics and navigability of the grounds, development of an onsite hotel property, and expanded staffing to include dedicated sales and marketing functions.

"This plan provides a comprehensive strategy for the future of the Fairgrounds,” said John Stremsterfer, president of the Community Foundation. "The Community Foundation was pleased to fund the development of this plan and looks forward to the State of Illinois’ continued strategic investments in this iconic and treasured property on the north end of Springfield.”

Illinois-based Johnson Consulting was the lead firm in developing the master plan, with the assistance of firms MIG, CDSmith, JGMA and Hanson Professional Services.


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