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York fairgrounds embarks on major renovation project with $4M grant

Noel Miller
York Dispatch

The York Expo Center is about to embark on a major renovation project thanks to a $4 million grant.

Bryan Blair, the center's CEO, said the money secured via the state's Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program must be matched by the organization's own fundraising efforts. He said the plan is to renovate the 87-acre facility's grandstand and concert stage, in addition to the Veranda Room and the Pennsylvania Room.

"It's not something people are going to see happen overnight," he said, noting that the project will take between two and three years to complete.

Bryan Blair, CEO for York Fair and York Expo Center, addresses the media in West Manchester Township, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019. One man fell from the Giant Wheel ride and another person was injured Friday night.  Dawn J. Sagert photo

Blair said those plans are still somewhat preliminary.

"We're still waiting on all of the specific details on dates and timelines on how to move forward from the state," he said. "But as soon as we get that information, we'll be ready to start moving forward."

The site hosts a number of major events. In addition to the York State Fair, the center plays host to sporting events, the annual Street Rod Nationals East convention, beer and wine festivals, and the county's annual Veterans Day breakfast.

Before the center can begin fundraising, Blair said, it must complete a feasibility study, and there is a chance they will aim to raise less than the full $4 million match. The study will help them determine an appropriate fundraising goal they can reach, he said.  

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The center got the grant award letter and accepted it Thursday. Now they are waiting to hear more from the state about how the project timeline will work, Blair said.

State Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York City, announced that York County received $12.5 million in total from the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program on Nov. 1.

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More than $1 million went to the York City Health and Safety Complex, and $5 million went to the Community Progress Council Integrated Service Building.  

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM.