Close this search box.

Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.


Cuomo announces $50M redesign of State Fairgrounds

GEDDES, N.Y. — A new multi-purpose exposition center, a larger midway, and a 400-site recreational-vehicle (RV) park are part of a $50 million redesign plan for the New York State Fairgrounds.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the fairgrounds property to serve as a “year-round, premier multi-use facility that can attract more events and visitors from across the nation,” according to a news release his office issued Tuesday morning.

Cuomo also spoke Tuesday morning in the Empire Room at the New York State Fairgrounds.


Cuomo had proposed investing $50 million to “transform our State Fairgrounds into a year-round, premier multi-use facility” in his 2015 state budget. That’s the language Cuomo’s office used in the 2015 Opportunity Agenda posted Jan. 21 at the governor’s website.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney also outlined several ideas for upgrades in her State of the County address on March 3.

The news release from Cuomo’s office included details about the plan for the State Fairgrounds redesign, which include:


1. Removing the grandstand and motor track to make room for new facilities;

2. Constructing the Expo Center — a state-of-the-art, 110,000 square foot multi-use facility to host trade shows, horse shows, mid-sized concerts, and other events;

3. Construct a larger, modern Chevy Court Festival Stage and seating area;

4. Enlarge and upgrade the Midway to facilitate a more robust carnival;

5. Perform much-needed infrastructure upgrades to enhance visitor experience and better showcase a variety of attractions; and

6. Create a new, 400-site RV Park to serve the Fair, the Lakeview Amphitheater, and many large events held at the Fairgrounds year-round.


“The State Fair is one of Central New York’s greatest economic engines, but the grounds have needed major upgrades for years. That’s why we’re redesigning the Fairgrounds from the bottom up,” Cuomo said in the release. “This plan transforms the Fairgrounds into a world-class set of facilities that can generate economic activity and jobs all year long. This is the first step towards a new Fair, a new regional economy, and it’s all part of the new upstate New York.”

The New York State Fairgrounds have remained “essentially the same” for a century with “no major redesign,” Cuomo contends.

Investments have targeted “basic rehabilitation,” such as repairs of roofing systems, electrical systems, water and sewer mains, and roadways.

The current “lack” of green areas, storm-water infrastructure, and rain-collection systems causes “severe” flooding during rainstorms, the governor notes.

The venue needs “big” investments to keep it “strong” in the years ahead, Mahoney said in Cuomo’s news release.

“That’s what this plan does, and I am thrilled to see the new construction and renovations get underway. From the new Expo Center to the Midway improvements and the RV Park, this is a plan that ensures the Fairgrounds will become a major source of economic activity throughout the year, and I want to thank the governor and everyone involved in bringing this plan to fruition for their commitment … both to the Fair and to Onondaga County,” said Mahoney.

Work on the improvements will begin this fall. Cuomo’s office expects crews to finish improvements to the midway; the RV park; visitor-amenity upgrades, such as a new gate; and to Chevy Court by July 2016; and the new exposition center and equestrian facilities by July 2017, according to Cuomo’s office.


Contact Reinhardt at


Get our email updates

Stay up-to-date on the companies, people and issues that impact businesses in Syracuse, Central New York and beyond.

Essential business news, thoughtful analysis and valuable insights for Central New York business leaders.

Copyright © 2023 Central New York Business Journal. All Rights Reserved.