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City Council approves fairground arena study
Expansion of popular facility a possibility
Fairgrounds arena

One of the biggest parts of the Cumming Fairgrounds could soon be expanded.

At a work session on Tuesday, the Cumming City Council voted unanimously to move ahead with a study looking at expansion of the fairgrounds covered arena as part of a list of potential city SPLOST VIII projects.

“It would be on the Tolbert Street side,” said Fairgrounds Administrator Dave Horton. “It would go back and extend the roof back anywhere from 100 to 150 feet. It would give us more seating on the floor.”

SPLOST was first approved in Forsyth County in 1987 and has been continued six times since. SPLOST VIII will likely be decided by voters this year.

In the past, the construction of the new jail, courthouse and parking decks in downtown Cumming, new fire stations and fire trucks, road widening and infrastructure improvements and purchasing land for county parts has been undertaken with SPLOST funding.

Horton said moving ahead with the study would help the city with negotiations.

“This is just kind of an initial proposal for architectural services related to the conception of design and budget estimating this project, so [the city has] some real numbers to take back to SPLOST negotiations,” he said. 

If approved, Horton said, the project would involve grading land, moving water lines and utilities and construction costs.

He said the facility is currently at max capacity for graduation ceremonies for Forsyth Central High School, the only school to use the facility for graduation, but expansion could make it a suitable facility for all high school graduations. 

“Right now, for the Central graduations, we have 3,081 seats in the bleachers. That’s counting handicap spaces,” Horton said. “We put on the floor about 2,600 chairs.”

Horton said an extra hundred feet would mean 600 to 900 more people could attend events. He was also opposed to potentially closing in the arena, saying it would limit what could be held at the facility.