The 22.5 acre Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center in Belleville will soon have new ownership.

The Belleville City Council and St. Clair County Board voted Thursday night in separate meetings to approve an intergovernmental agreement to purchase the property for $2.35 million.

It was listed with Barber Murphy Commercial Real Estate Solutions for sale for $2.4 million earlier this year. St. Clair County is covering the cost with federal COVID-related relief funds from the American Rescue Plan. That’s because the county wants to use the property for emergency services, as well as continued hospitality and tourism, according to County Board Chairman Mark Kern.

“I think this is a good day for the county … The main purpose of this is to be able to provide a place should there be a disaster in the county,” Kern said. “This is the only facility in St. Clair County that would suffice. It has the size and the capabilities. “During the pandemic, we had over 100,000 vaccinations given by the county (at the fairgrounds). We know it can provide the opportunity we need should there be a major incident.”

After a 15-minute closed session discussion, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the agreement at a 6 p.m. special meeting. Three aldermen were absent, including Ward 1’s Joe Hazel, Ward 2’s Jamie Eros and Ward 3’s Kent Randle. The city of Belleville will own one out of 51 shares of stock in Belle-Clair Fairgrounds Park Inc., the corporation through which the property operates. The county will own the rest. “The county is going to actually be buying it,” Belleville Mayor Patty Gregory said. “The city’s role will be what it’s always been, to continue with police and fire protection, and also I’m sure there will be times when, with the events, we will have input and we will be actively helping with marketing.”

“We’re very excited about the possibilities,” the mayor said. “We’re accomplishing so many things in the city because of our relationship with the county. It’s really helping the city move forward in a positive direction.”

Barber Murphy real estate listing, Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center includes a 58,919-square-foot steel building with a bar and kitchen and a 3-acre dirt race track with two grandstands. The listing states that the property was rehabbed in 1980.

Click for full Article By Teri Maddox & Lexi Cortes – Belleville News-Democrat

Click for full listing information: 22.5 Acre Re-Development Site

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