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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo officially marked the opening of the brand-new Exposition Center at the New York State Fairgrounds Wednesday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 136,000-square-foot Expo Center, the largest indoor events space north of New York City between Boston and Cleveland, was unveiled during the kick-off of the 2018 Great New York State Fair. The new facility, and the recently completed renovation of the Fair's Orange parking lot, complete the second phase of the Governor's plan to revitalize the State Fairgrounds. The improvements complement Central NY Rising, the region's strategy to boost the local economy.

"The new Exposition Center is a welcome addition to the Fairgrounds that will not only help bolster State Fair attendance, but provide an event space capable of hosting a record number of visitors year-round," Cuomo said. "By boosting tourism and attracting businesses from across the country, the uniquely situated Expo Center will deliver lasting economic benefits to keep Central New York rising for generations to come."

"The new Expo Center continues the revitalization of the fairgrounds, improving the fair experience and attracting more visitors to our Great New York State Fair," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Expo Center's opening today creates a new space to host events and shows capable of holding a record number of people. The new center will continue to build local communities and grow the economy of Central New York."

The Expo Center, with 110,000 square feet of clear-span floor space, has the capacity to hold more than 500, 10'-by-10' trade show booths. The massive venue, which also features 4,000 retractable seats, will attract major shows and special events, including car, boat, and RV shows, pet expos, consumer and trade shows, home and garden shows, tech expos and more—many of which were previously unable to come to upstate New York due to the lack of suitable space. The Expo Center increases the amount of available indoor space on the Fairgrounds to more than 450,000 square feet.

Last year at the opening of the 2017 Fair, Cuomo announced the Request for Proposals for the Expo Center design-build project was being issued by the Office of General Services. As a result of special legislation for design-build granted in the Governor's 2017-2018 Budget, the project was designed, constructed, and completed in less than one year - in time for the 2018 Fair - by a number of New York State firms including design/builder HBP Joint Venture, a joint venture between Hueber-Breuer Construction (Syracuse) and The Pike Company (Rochester); architect and engineer QPK Design (Syracuse); and owner's representatives Gilbane Building Company and C&S Companies (Syracuse).

The Governor also announced that the New York State Department of Transportation has completed a $27 million redesign and modernization of the Orange Lot, the Great New York State Fair's largest parking lot. Improvements to the 65-acre lot to improve access, enhance safety and significantly expand capacity, began last fall. More than 7,000 parking spaces are available in the freshly paved lot, up from the 4,000 to 5,000 that were available last year on a dirt surface. Access improvements will reduce delays from traffic backing up onto the Exit 7 ramps to Interstate 690, easing congestion during peak travel times.

In early August, NYSDOT opened a new exit ramp to Interstate 690 west from the western end of the Orange Lot, allowing direct access to I-690 from the State Fair and Onondaga County amphitheater. The new ramp will improve the flow and circulation of traffic exiting the Orange Lot, and help reduce delays for vehicles leaving the lot. Prior to the opening of this ramp, vehicles could only exit the Orange Lot from the Exit 7 area of I-690 during events scheduled outside of the Fair. The new ramp provides an additional exit point for vehicles to access I-690 in the westbound direction during all events.

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