HUTCHINSON (AP) — Kansas lawmakers have introduced a new bill that would allow the State Fair to leave the city of Hutchinson after more than 100 years.
State Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Hesston, said the bill proposed Monday was inspired by the people “involved” with the fair who are unhappy with the city.
He declined to identify anyone by name.
Schroeder said one of the contributing factors to the dissatisfaction is the city’s stormwater fees, which jumped to approximately $50,000 per year.
“Obviously, it’s not anyone that serves on the fair board,” said State Fair Board President Virginia Crossland-Macha about those who inspired the bill.
She said the board hasn’t discussed moving from Hutchinson.
“I don’t know where this comes from,” she said.
Hutchinson City Manager John Deardoff said he also was “a little perplexed” by the legislation.
“We’re just not sure what’s driving this,” Deardoff said.
If passed, the bill would require the fair’s board to request proposals from other cities in Kansas to host the event. The board would also be required to submit a report detailing the results of the proposals to several legislative committees on or before Jan. 11, 2020.
State Reps. Steven Becker and Jason Probst, and state Sen. Ed Berger oppose the bill, saying Hutchinson is a perfect location for the fair.
“It is concerning to me, for sure,” said Becker.
Probst said the city has been managing the annual influx of the State Fairground’s visitors “very well” for more than a century.
He added that it would be costly for a potential host city and for the state to replicate the fairgrounds.