State Fair Exposition Center loss expected
West Allis (AP) – The Exposition Center at Wisconsin’s State Fair Park is expected to lose about $565,000 this year, according to the chairman of both the park and center boards.
Martin Greenberg said Monday that loss, combined with a projected shortfall of $175,000 next year, could force the privately run exhibition hall to default as early as next December on $45 million in industrial revenue bonds borrowed to build the facility.
Greenberg said he was working on a plan to avoid that, but he declined to elaborate except to say it involved a restructuring of management and refinancing of the bonds.
The fair park board named Randy S. Prasse, executive director of the East Town Association, as the new director of the 200-acre park Monday. Prasse succeeds Joe Chrnelich, who stepped down in August.
Greenberg also released a plan for turning around the finances of the fair park, which has posted deficits totaling $6 million during the last two years.
The plan, most of which was disclosed previously, includes asking the state to assume responsibility for the Pettit National Ice Center debt and finding a promoter to run the Milwaukee Mile race track.
But it does not make any mention of the Exposition Center, which has operated in the red since opening in August 2002.
State officials and the fair park board have maintained they do not have any financial responsibility for the exhibition center, although the park board created the nonprofit corporation that financed and runs it with legislative approval.
AAA: Wisconsin gas prices dropped
Madison (AP) – Gasoline prices have dropped more than a dime a gallon in Wisconsin during the last month but still remain considerably higher than at the same time last year, AAA Wisconsin said Friday in its daily fuel gauge report.
The average price of a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline averaged $1.918, down from $2.056 a month ago and a high of $2.135 on June 2 but up from $1.536 a year ago.
AAA Wisconsin spokesman Michael Bie said it is unclear if prices will continue to drop.
Bie said weather was expected to have a big impact on gasoline and oil prices during the first quarter of 2005.
“So far, the United States has avoided any severe winter-like conditions,” he said.
AAA fuel gauge prices around the state Friday varied from $1.859 at La Crosse to $1.896 at Madison, $1.899 at Green Bay, $1.909 at Janesville-Beloit, $1.921 at Milwaukee-Waukesha and $1.948 at Eau Claire.