BELLEVILLE, Ill. – St. Clair County bought the land in Belleville that is home to the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds & Expo Center.

The 22.5-acre site was sold for $2.35 million. The City of Belleville will also own a small portion.

The site is home to a variety of regular events, including a monthly flea market, antique shows, gun and knife shows, and train shows. The manager of those events is Bobby Lee. He said he is optimistic about the purchase. County officials have said they want to schedule even more community events, including the return of the county fair.

“I think they’ll really help promote it and make it better,” Lee said.

“If they can do that and have the flea market and other events, that would be great,” said Tim Johnston, a Swansea resident.

Officials also hope to eventually use the site as a place to provide temporary housing during natural disasters and make the property home to St. Clair County Animal Control.

Connie Jean Goyda is familiar with the fairgrounds and is hopeful the purchase will bring even more visitors to the county.

“We get a lot of business from Nashville, and Marion, and different parts of the other counties,” she said. “A lot of people come from St. Louis.”

You can read more about the fairgrounds here.