Expo Renovations Costing Customers

Tuesday, July 27th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Not everyone is happy about paying higher ticket prices for Expo Square Events. Melissa Larry-Banner's grandparents started the Tulsa flea market 27 years ago. She says there's never been an admission charge until now. "A lot of people are unhappy. It's been free for so long people are used to it. Some people come every week and they're upset about it," says Larry-Banner. The Expo Square Board is charging each adult shopper a dollar to shop. They say they're doing this to pay for the renovations. "This is just a fun place for people to come and visit and have a good time and I don't think we have to pay," says Shopper Diann Getman. But expo managment says if they don't charge now and make the changes, Expo Square will just get worse. "Most of our buildings have deteriorated. Our parking lots are in shambles, our restrooms are primarily obsolete, and the facility really has no eye appeal," says Expo Spokesperson Denny Tuttle. But some dealers and shoppers say they're not sure they trust that changes will ever happen. "Totally skeptical and very cynical. I really don't believe that improvements will be made," says Doris Elias, dealer. But Expo leaders say the money collected is being set aside in a special account that will only go for renovations. They say the changes will begin after the state fair this fall. "I understand that inflation is inevitable. I'm on a fair board in Kansas and I know what it cost to keep things up and it that dollar will help blacktop this," says Dealer Joe Blatchford. Expo management says the improvements will be complete in about 7 years hopefully then they say they can take the surcharge away and events like the flea market will once again be free.