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Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and Illinois Department of Agriculture Release Illinois State Fairgrounds Master Plan

Governor JB Pritzker announced today the release of an ambitious master plan for the Illinois State Fairgrounds, marking a significant step towards enhancing its role as a premier venue for events and celebrations throughout the year. Developed in collaboration with the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln and spearheaded by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA), the plan aims to preserve the Fairgrounds' core traditions while boosting its appeal and economic impact.

"With hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, the Illinois State Fairgrounds is a cornerstone of our state's cultural and agricultural heritage," Governor Pritzker remarked. "Combined with our recent $58.1 million investment in infrastructure improvements, this master plan charts a course for sustained growth and ensures our Fairgrounds remain among the nation's finest."

The initiative was catalyzed by the Community Foundation's "The Next 10" visioning project, launched in 2020 to foster dialogue on the future of the Greater Springfield Area. The transformation of the Fairgrounds emerged as a pivotal project within this framework, promising to catalyze social and economic activity across the region.

"Planning for the future vitality of the Illinois State Fairgrounds is our duty today," stated IDOA Director Jerry Costello II. "Teaming up with the Community Foundation enabled us to develop strategic, long-term solutions to rejuvenate the Fairgrounds and preserve its 366 acres as a showcase for Illinois agriculture, our state's leading industry."

Key components of the master plan include the establishment of a dynamic "Town Square" to enhance aesthetics and visitor experience, the construction of an on-site hotel facility, and the expansion of operational capacities with dedicated sales and marketing resources.

"This plan represents a holistic vision for the Fairgrounds' future," emphasized John Stremsterfer, President of the Community Foundation. "We are proud to have funded its development and eagerly anticipate the State of Illinois' ongoing investments in this cherished property, which holds a special place in the heart of Springfield."

Leading the planning effort was Illinois-based Johnson Consulting, supported by firms MIG, CDSmith, JGMA, and Hanson Professional Services, collectively bringing expertise to envision and execute the comprehensive revitalization of this historic venue.

The unveiling of the master plan signals a new chapter in the storied history of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, promising to enrich community life, stimulate economic growth, and secure its legacy as a beacon of Illinois' agricultural heritage for generations to come.

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