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More changes coming to the NYS fairgrounds

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing another $70 million investment in the New York State Fair

More changes are on the way for the New York State Fair. The fair will be longer starting this year, going from 12 days to 13. During a stop in Syracuse Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced more specific plans for a $70 million investment in the second phase of a revitalization of the State Fairgrounds.

New York State wants to build on the momentum of a record breaking crowd at last summer’s State Fair. So Cuomo assigned a special task force to come up with ideas for a second phase of development at the fair.

“I accept the plan, it’s in the budget, it’s exciting, and I think it’s going to make a major difference,” said Cuomo.

$50 million out of the $70 million investment will go toward construction of a new multi-use exposition center, and an aerial gondola that will ferry fairgoers from the fairgrounds to the Lakeview Amphitheater.

“The gondola would also, on the amphitheater side, connect people from the Erie Canal trail to the loop of the lake trail,” said Cuomo. “So this is very exciting and brings the energy of both facilities together for a synergy between the two.”

The other $20 million will pay for a new on-ramp to I-690 West, and improvements to the orange parking lot. Richard Ball is co-chair of the task force that came up with the ideas.

“These were ideas that we decided were things that would create the excitement, create the energy, create the possibility for public private partnerships,” said Ball. “Create the opportunity to have year round activities at the fairgrounds that will allow us afford to do more things going forward.”

Fair officials say the extra day would be tacked on at the beginning of the fair, so it would start on Wednesday instead of Thursday.

The 80-thousand square foot multi-use building would be available year round, and the Gondola would be able to transport up to 1,200 people per hour. The $70 million would have to be approved as part of the state budget. This follows a $50 million dollar state investment over the last two years.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.