The Lancaster Event Center was expecting to make a $70 million dollar economic impact on Lincoln and bring more than 630,000 visitors to town this year. Then COVID-19 caused the center to close in mid-March for three and a half months. The center now hopes to get some support.
This year 150 events with 350,000 attendees were cancelled. This includes two international events at the Lancaster Event Center. Now center officials are looking for ways to survive the pandemic. Many people may not realize that the center does not benefit much from tax dollars. Managing Director Amy Dickerson said they were just coming into their 20th year. They were sharing ground with the state fairgrounds for all of their 150 year history. Dickerson said they are locked into property taxes from way back then, and only get $1.20 per citizen in the county where most county fairs get $20 or $30.
The Lancaster Event Center is hoping to get some support from the Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act. They believe this could be one answer to what has been a very tough year.
Dickerson said, “The Ag Fairs Rescue Act is designed to help fairgrounds like the Lancaster Event Center, to help them survive through COVID. Of course it’s still being written. We don’t know exactly, but it’s proposed to be $500 million in grants to help the country’s ag fairs and fairgrounds survive through COVID.”
Dickerson said the Lancaster Event Center is important because it helps keep people engaged in agriculture. She’s hoping Nebraskans will voice their support of relief efforts like the Agricultural Fairs Rescue Act to state congressional leaders.
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