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NY State Fair adds baby care centers

The New York State Fair will be a little friendlier for young families this year. Suggestions from fairgoers submitted in recent years have complained about the lack of areas for families to tend to their children.

Acting director of the fair Troy Waffner says that's why they have constructed new baby care centers that will offer privacy for nursing mothers and a place for families to change diapers in an air-conditioned and safe environment. 

"It’s something we’ve been trying to get much better at than we have in years past," Waffner said. 'Trying to make sure that the fair is part of everyone’s lives and that they’re invested in the fair and the fair is here for them.”

The four mobile baby care centers buildings cost $34,000 to build. They were constructed by a Manlius company and have an Adirondack look.

Jennifer Deshaies of the Syracuse La Leche League says it’s a long time coming

"When I had little ones that were nursing at the fair, I was looking for a shaded shot, an area that was out of the way so they wouldn’t be so distracted by all the people around, a place they could rest a little bit," Deshaies said. "To have an actual location that is designated for that is a great advantage.”

Fairground's west end

Also new this year, more attention to the west end of the fairgrounds with a new sky ride and the New York Experience built around a water feature. And, a streetscape project to rehabilitate Bridge Street and Milton Ave in Solvay starts this week. This is part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the village and the west side of Onondaga Lake by the state and Onondaga County. It’s also meant to dovetail with the revitalization of the New York State Fair.

Waffner says will make it easier for visitors to get to the new Bridge Street entrance of the fair.

"This promenade will allow people to very easily walk from Solvay, from chiropractic office the fair grounds to our new gate," he said. 'The new gate was part of this project that the county got done last year. We’re thankful for it because it put 67,000 people through that new entrance.”

The project will create a 16-foot wide sidewalk with benches and ornamental lighting along Bridge Street.

The state has invested $50 million in the fairgrounds over the past two years. If it’s approved in the upcoming budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledge another $70 million for continued revitalization of the fairgrounds that include a new convention center and a gondola.