Currently spectators are protected from the elements because that area of the ring is covered.
"A covered arena will benefit everybody," he said. "There is nothing like it in central Kentucky.
"It's all about economic development," said Mercer County Judge-Executive John Trisler.
There is currently work being done at the grounds to give the home of the oldest continuous county fair in the country a bit of a facelift. The arena seats have been scraped and painted and a new horse show office has been added.
Money needed for facelift
Like the new plan, which Peters and Ellis said would likely begin in three to five years, money is needed for the facelift, and Ellis has enlisted the help of banks, small businesses and individuals. State Rep. Milward Dedman, R-Harrodsburg, said raising money from government grants would be more difficult because the facility is privately owned.
Board member Will Dedman and Ellis said the organization of owners is a non-profit organization. The Mercer County Fair and Horse Show, which will run from July 25-30, attracts about 20,000 people to the horse show alone, with between 450 and 500 people each night.
Peters said the most urgent need may be the conference center. Included in the center will be room for the fair's floral hall.
The building now housing the large event needs replacing, Ellis and Peters said. The plan also calls for 500 new parking places and a place for animal owners to drop off horses and cattle.
While it's not clear what part of the project will be done first, Peters said the most important thing about the future is to have a plan.
"Let's don't do this halfway," Peters said.
The opinions of county and city officials have been sought and meetings have been held with people who use the fairgrounds. "I don't think the board alone can make these decisions," Ellis said.
Peters suggested the infrastructure be one of the first problems addressed in the plan.
"We have only one entrance and there is no directional signage," he said.
Attorney and developer Mike Conover has agreed to an easement off of his property to the south end of the fairgrounds for an exit so traffic won't be going both ways at the single entrance as it is now.
Ellis said the world has changed and people want different events at the fair. For that reason, the board has added a moto-track.
"It's not horses; it's horse power," he said. The board sought money from a grant to buy bleachers for that track, but were unable to raise a match for the grant.
"I had to raise $50,000 in two days," Ellis said about the failure to get the grant. Whatever is added, it will have to have the same flavor as the fair that has gone on for 177 continuous years.
"It's going to have to have the look and feel of the old fairgrounds or you lose the old fair ambiance," he said.