In 2003, a Macon County Fairgrounds Park tax was passed by the citizens of Macon County that allowed many projects to be completed. Projects such as the building of the Macon County Expo Center, repair and replacement of the grandstand, improvements to the camp grounds, the installation of blacktop to the main entrance road and much more. And on April 2, the Macon County Park Board is asking again that you vote yes on their tax.
According to Park Board President Jim Petre, the park is currently not tax funded. It operates by what is called a fee program.
"Individuals who rent the Expo Center pay a fee to use the facility and that is our income," said Petre. "If we didn't have facilities like that today, we would not have that income and wouldn't be able to keep everything the way it looks today."
The tax on the 2013 ballot is for a three year, 1/4 of 1 percent sales tax for Capital Improvements only at your Macon County Park. The projects the board wishes to accomplish with this tax are as follows: build a new multipurpose/livestock facility with restrooms and showers on the East end of the park for 4-H, FFA and the Macon County Jr. Cattlemen; make improvements and repairs to existing facilities, attach a shelter on the back of Floral Hall, place more lighting around the park and the Expo Center, replace playground equipment, build a restroom on the North side of the park for events, paint the inside of the Expo Center, run water to the South end of the campsites, and place permanent trash receptacle throughout the park.
According to Petre, the major focus is on the multipurpose building that could not only be used for 4-H, FFA and fairs, but also for rental for wedding receptions and so forth.
"We turn people down at the Expo Center quite often because it is booked for other events," said Petre. "If we can combine what 4-H needs with something that can be utilized the rest of the year for wedding receptions or whatever, we think that is just a smart idea. And when we do that, it gives us something else to make available to the public, which will generate a little income so we can pay our employees, utilities, insurance and so forth."
Ultimately, Petre and the rest of the board wish to provide the best recreation facility as possible for the tax payers in the county.
"There are approximately 100,000 people who use the park on a yearly basis," said Petre. "And I know an awful lot of people who do appreciate what has gone on out there the last couple years. We are hoping with our track record over the last 12 years that the citizens will pass this and know we would spend wisely and that it would benefit them."