$27 Million Project to Transform the 65 Acre Lot and Complement Rapid Growth at the Great New York State Fair.
Albany, NY - October 16, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a $27 million project to transform the 65-acre Orange Lot at the Great New York State Fair is slated to begin this fall and will conclude before the start of next year's Fair on August 22, 2018. As currently configured, the Orange Lot is not paved, does not have lined parking, and loses up to 30 percent of its parking capacity during wet weather. This transformative project will bring traffic patterns and parking availability up-to-date to meet the needs of 21st century fairgoers.
"For a century, the fairgrounds went virtually unchanged, and in just a few short years, New York has completely upgraded and transformed this historic attraction into a world class, multi-use operation," Governor Cuomo said. "Transforming the Orange Lot is critical in our efforts to complete the Fair's modernization, and will provide much needed additional capacity as we continue to attract more and more visitors to the grounds and to Central New York as a whole."
The Orange Lot serves as the main parking facility for the New York State Fair and Onondaga County's Lakeview Amphitheater. During popular concerts and busy fair days, traffic backs up on the Exit 7 ramp leading to the lot, causing delays on I-690. The new lot will help alleviate some of these delays.
This transformative project to upgrade and improve the Fair's Orange Lot will include:
Paving the lot, increasing its capacity, and improving traffic flow;
New drainage features to prevent flooding;
A redesigned intersection from Exit 7 on 690 with a new traffic signal; and
Creation of a new exit from the west end of the Orange Lot to I-690 West.
These changes, coupled with the construction of new access roads, will expand parking, improve the flow and circulation of traffic entering and exiting the Orange Lot, and reduce delays on I-690.
Once phase one is complete, there will be more than three miles of paved interior roadways, two miles of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways, 114 new LED lights for improved visibility within the parking lot, and improved storm water management. Following the completion of this project, the State will enter into a long-term agreement with Onondaga County for the shared use of the parking lots, building on the partnership between the Lakeview Amphitheater and the New York State Fairgrounds.
The Fair has also worked to create more park and ride lots to further address rapid growth of the Fair in recent years and help alleviate parking and traffic concerns. During the Fair this year, buses were brought to Syracuse from across the state. Drone technology also was implemented in 2017 to support law enforcement's efforts to keep motorists and pedestrians safe by monitoring traffic and parking during high attendance weekend days. As a result of these efforts, while Labor Day was the largest attended Fair in history, the Fair never had to shut down a parking lot.
New York State Commissioner of Agriculture Richard A. Ball said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, the state Fairgrounds is being transformed into a major center of commerce and tourism. This improvement will facilitate even greater year-round growth, helping to grow the economy of Central New York."
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "Governor Cuomo's leadership and investment is transforming the Western shore of Onondaga Lake. Concertgoers and fairgoers alike will benefit from the improved traffic flow in the Orange Lot the same as we have benefited from the millions of dollars invested in the Fairgrounds, Bridge Street, Village of Solvay and all around Onondaga Lake."
State Fair Acting Director Troy Waffner said, "The Fair has grown by nearly 25 percent in two years and our non-Fair business is on the verge of great growth with the construction of the new expo center. The Governor's investments have provided an opportunity for growth that we are taking advantage of, and which is benefitting the entire region."
State Department of Transportation Acting Commissioner Cathy Calhoun said, "Governor Cuomo's vision for the Fair has brought forth record attendance and a renewed sense of pride for people in Central New York. The Department of Transportation is extremely proud of the role that we play during the 13-day Fair as well as our role in designing and building a brand new Orange Lot for fairgoers. The 2018 Fair will be here before we know it and with it, a modern, 21st century parking lot."
Phase II of this project will focus on additional access improvements between the Orange Parking Lot and the adjacent interstates to eliminate the temporary traffic signal that is installed on I-690 every year during the fair. This will include an additional redesigned on and off-ramp access system from the 695 South interchange, a new bridge to create a direct access from the Orange Lot to the 690 East on-ramp, and a new pedestrian bridge from the western portion of the Orange Lot to the state fairgrounds. Phase II funding is anticipated in the near future.
About the Great New York State Fair
The New York State Fair, operated by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, runs from August 22 to September 3, 2018. The Fair's mission, reflected in its theme, "FIND YOUR GREAT," is to showcase the best of New York agriculture while providing top-quality entertainment.
The home of the Great New York State Fair is a 375-acre exhibit and entertainment complex that operates all year. A year-round schedule of events is available on the Fair's website. Find The Great New York State Fair on Facebook, follow @NYSFair on Twitter, on Snapchat at nysfair and enjoy photos from the Fair at Flickr.com/photos/nysfair. Also, New Yorkers are invited to send their ideas for the Great New York State Fair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Accelerating Central NY Rising
Today's announcement complements "Central NY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.