Hancock County fairgrounds project on hold without new tax

Leaders of a central Indiana county are reconsidering how to pay for a possible $30 million fairgrounds project without money from a proposed county restaurant tax.

Hancock County Commissioner Tom Stevens told the Greenfield Daily Reporter he worries the project will be on hold for at least a year after state legislators didn't act on the county's request for a 1 percent food-and-beverage tax. That tax was estimated to raise more than $900,000 a year.

The fairgrounds project is proposed for about 200 acres of county-owned farmland along U.S. 40 just east of Greenfield. The not-for-profit Hancock County Exposition Complex Corp. would lease the land and build a multipurpose exposition center, two arenas and six rental barns. A large outdoor amphitheater, a grand gazebo and large retention pond also are planned.

The proposed project would be double the size of the current fairgrounds.

Supporters said the facility would be used year-round, not just for the annual county fair.

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