The State Fair of Texas is giving the city of Dallas $4 million. According to a release, the $4 million is to help pay for maintenance and improvements at Fair Park. The State Fair is leaving the decision on how to allocate these funds entirely to the discretion of the Park and Recreation director.
"Giving" is actually a loose word. This money comes from excess revenues; part of the State Fair's lease agreement with the city prescribes that it share excess revenues from each year's fair with the Park and Recreation Department.
For the past three years, the Fair has given the money to the city to be used at their sole discretion — even though the contract says that the city should consult with the Fair on improvement projects at Fair Park.
Over those past three years, the State Fair has given the city $15 million, and never asked a single question. Never even a "bring me back the change."
In 2017, the Fair and the city shared more than $11 million. The Fair gave $6.5 million of this to the city to use for Fair Park projects. And again, they left the spending decisions completely up to the discretion of the city, no strings attached. If Parks & Rec Dec director Willis Winters wanted to buy himself a souped-up Porsche, it is not for them to say.
Then the Fair contributed another $4.5 million in 2017 to support additional projects in Fair Park, going toward the improvement of State Fair operations.
Meanwhile, here are some things that the Fair has paid for itself:
- new seating areas
- restroom facilities
- guest service amenities
- plumbing, heating, and electrical work around the grounds
Many things! And these are things that other groups hosting events in Fair Park also use and enjoy. CultureMap held its annual Tastemaker Awards there in 2016 and people were totally using the restrooms, and they all flushed like a charm.