MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Editorials

April 12, 2012

City smart to wait on fairgrounds

Delaying a decision on the future of the Muskogee State Fair Authority and its upkeep of the Muskogee Fairgrounds is a wise move.

The Muskogee City Council was considering the possibility of turning over the maintenance and operations of the fairgrounds to the city parks department.

The city pays the authority $50,000 per year to perform those functions.

The council backed off any decision for two very sound reasons.

An official with the authority expressed concerns that the city would not save any money by assuming the authority’s functions.

The official stated many volunteer hours are used each year to maintain and improve the facilities.

If the council did not factor in volunteer hours, it could wind up adding expense to the city budget.

The second reason may be the most significant.

As Councilor Kenny Payne rightfully pointed out, the city is waiting on the completion of a study of Love-Hatbox Field.

The $75,000 study, which is months away from completion, could help determine the feasibility or wisdom of moving the fairgrounds to Love-Hatbox.

The city has a lot of money tied up in the study. Moving ahead with any decision that could be rendered moot by the study’s findings is more dangerous than allowing the authority to maintain control for another fiscal year.

How the study turns out should affect the council’s decision-making process.

The fairgrounds and its authority deserve a fair review. That can only happen after the study is complete.

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