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Government & Politics

Task Force to Consider Future of Ohio State Fairgrounds

a photo of state fair entrance
The state fair begins July 24

Gov. Mike DeWine has appointed a task force to consider the future of the Ohio State Fairgrounds, just three miles away from downtown Columbus. The annual state fair brings together agriculture, rides and fried food on July 24.

DeWine said the 19-member Expo 2050 commission must consider that events are held on the fairgrounds year-round. And the fairgrounds are adjacent to the Columbus Crew major league soccer stadium. The Crew wants some fairgrounds land to redevelop that arena when the team moves to a new facility in downtown Columbus. DeWine said the task force needs to deal with that request soon, but he’s not suggesting anything – including whether the fairgrounds should relocate out of the city.

“We’re not limiting them at all. In fact, we’re telling them to take a kind of big, holistic approach to where we need to go in the future.”

DeWine also noted the state highway patrol has a training facility on the fairgrounds, and the Ohio History Connection museum and its Ohio Village are nearby.

Former Columbus Dispatch publisher and former Rep. Mike Curtin (D-Columbus) and Ohio Developmental Services Agency Director and former Findlay mayor Lydia Mihalik are the co-chairs of the Expo 2050 task force. Other members include:

  • Alissa Belna-Muhlenkamp, Junior Fair Board Coordinator, Ohio State Fair
  • Sen. Hearcel F. Craig (D-Columbus)
  • Andy Doehrel, Ohio Chamber of Commerce President and Ohio Expositions Commission Chair
  • Sandy Doyle-Ahern, President, EMH&T engineering firm
  • Col. Richard Fambro, Superintendent, Ohio State Highway Patrol
  • Shannon Hardin, President, Columbus City Council  
  • Elizabeth Harsh, Executive Director, Ohio Cattlemen's Association
  • Burt Logan, Ohio History Connection Executive Director and CEO 
  • Robert Lorimer, President, The Arnold Sports Festival
  • Mary Mertz, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director 
  • Curt Moody, CEO, Moody Nolan
  • Keith Myers, Vice President of Planning, Architecture, and Real Estate, Ohio State University
  • Dr. Scott Myers, CEO, All American Quarter Horse Congress
  • Dorothy Pelanda, Ohio Department of Agriculture Director 
  • Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House)
  • Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake)
  • Virgil Strickler, General Manager, Ohio Exposition Center & State Fair
  • Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason)