"This year we're trying to do a joint venture with the Tennessee State Fair Association, the city government and North American Midway Entertainment carnival company," said Chrysty Fortner, a Board member for the state fair association. Organizers are renting the former fairgrounds for the event this year as they did in 2010.
"Although the budget at this point is $1.2 million, we're trying to build it up closer to $2 million so we can incorporate a flea market and expo" ....
"Last year, we put an 18-member fair board together with a new plan and ran the fair at the old grounds as a private group," Fortner said. "It was very difficult and exhausting, but we knew we had to keep it going. Unfortunately, this year we're in the same boat."
The group is in the early stages of funding and has yet to determine whether the fair will be a public, private, state or joint venture.
There are no plans in place yet for rebuilding or relocating," Fortner said. "The state fair can't be dependent on a piece of real estate that may or may not be ours next year. We need to move forward."
Before taking her position at Rockhouse Chrysty Fortner worked previously under Buck Dozier as the State Fair's Director of Marketing. The position she won was reportedly unadvertised in its search, and it paid her an annual salary of $72,000. I'm not sure how she got the job, but it probably did not hurt her chances that in 2007 she worked as a Dozier "Political Grassroots Campaign Manager" with a recommendation from MMA Creative principal Mike Kopp.
Enclave readers may remember:
- Ms. Fortner had a good laugh at the previous master plan recommendations for the Fairgrounds drawn up with public input at public expense
- Rockhouse did not follow through with some expected higher fair prize payouts backed up by money that was supposed to come from Karl Dean's office.
Last week the Mayor's Office had a hiccup with revelations that a major power broker in Karl Dean's administration failed to disclose personal dealings with a lawyer who ended up with a plum job as chief legal council of the convention center project as well as his board membership with a company that received a sweet subcontract (likely because disclosure before the council vote might have caused unnecessary embarrassment). Therefore, it is reasonable to ask: who in the Mayor's Office might have undisclosed ties at Rockhouse and who in Metro government might be trying to influence industry perceptions through this public-private partnership? Finally, if these 2011 decisions are being made by the Fair Board itself, why are they not being publicized to Davidson County voters?