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Construction Begins on Alachua County Fairgrounds, Extension Office in Newberry - Ajax Building Company
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Construction Begins on Alachua County Fairgrounds, Extension Office in Newberry

From The Gainesville SunGo to (Emily Mavrakis) “After decades of searching for a new home for the Alachua County fairgrounds and county extension services, a Newberry project is finally underway to replace the former site next year. At a groundbreaking ceremony for the fairgrounds and University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Office on Thursday, local political and university leaders spoke about the incredulity of the project finally coming to fruition and the progress that can take place from working together. 

“We’ve had some obstacles to overcome,” said Cynthia Sanders, who’s worked at UF/IFAS for 20 years and served as the county extension office director for 13 of them. “There were times when everybody said it’s not going to happen and I kind of was believing that, but I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.” 

Another five acres next to the center, purchased by the city of Newberry for $1 million using Wild Spaces and Public Places funds, will be the extension office location. Wild Spaces and Public Places is a one-half percent sales tax collected between 2017 and 2024 to protect environmentally sensitive lands and to create, improve and maintain parks and recreational facilities.

The $20.5 million project will be completed in two phases, said County Assistant Manager Gina Peebles. 

The new fairgrounds, where the current equestrian center is, should be completed by February 2021, in time for the county to host its Youth Fair and Livestock Show there in March.