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Asheville's Ag Center Update

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8/14/2008 - Asheville's Ag Center Update
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After the Mountain State Fair closes down on Sept. 14, look for the construction crews to swing into high gear at the WNC Agricultural Center.

Ive been interested from day one in renovating this facility, and I believe this will make it a shining star in the west, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said this morning at a press conference at the Ag Center.

Construction will begin on two buildings after the fair closes a $3 million arts and crafts building and a $2.1 million livestock building. The Ag Center, located at the intersection of Fanning Bridge Road and U.S. 280 across from Asheville Regional Airport, hosts more than 150 events a year and brought in 138,000 visitors last year, not counting the nearly 188,000 who attended the fair.

Troxler made the announcements as part of a discussion of overall plans for the Ag Center, the WNC Farmers Market and the Western Animal Diagnostic Lab. In all, Troxler outlined $15.1 million of improvements and additions at the facilities.

The Ag Center will receive the bulk of the improvements. Besides the two new buildings, plans also call for a $7.5 million renovation and addition to the Davis Arena, $169,400 in improvements to the McGough Arena and $339,559 in improvements to the Sales Arena.

Im excited about it, said Ag Center Manager Matt Buchanan. Its been since 92 since weve had any capital improvement money.

The facility generates about $15 million in economic activity, and it is self-supporting through its own receipts.

At the the Farmers Market, located off Brevard Road in Asheville, construction will begin by years end on a $402,000 project to add ventilation fans in the retail building, and for roofing on two buildings.

Were tickled to death, said Mike Ferguson, the market director. Weve not had any capital money for about 10 years.

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