The following editorial appeared in the Tampa Bay (Fla.) Times:

The governing board of the Florida State Fair will decide Monday (Sept. 29) whether to continue negotiating with a private firm to redevelop a piece of fairground property. The fair has plenty of land at its Tampa location that could be put to better use. But this proposal is piecemeal and underwhelming, and the fair authority should reject it and move on.

Monday’s discussion will come after a year of soul-searching by the authority for ways to use its brand name and prime location along Interstate 4 to diversify and strengthen the fair’s bottom line. That is a legitimate goal; the fair has ample space that could be used to energize the visitor experience without crowding out the fair, concerts and other events on the property. And the extra income could further the fair’s ability to meet its legal obligation to promote Florida agriculture, history and culture.

But the proposal by Republic Land Development falls short on every front.

Republic initially envisioned developing 123 acres, virtually the entire uncommitted footprint of the fair, minus the midway area, amphitheater and Old Florida-style venue Cracker Country. The plan included a hotel and athletic complex and a grab bag of every revenue generator possible, from water sports parks and virtual golf to restaurants, an outdoor theater and bowling alley, an RV park and big-box retail. The buildout would have started at 40 acres and grown from there.

The latest plan would also unfold in stages, but the rollout would start with a hotel, field house, restaurant pads and an RV park.

To read the full editorial, click here.