Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Solano County Fairgrounds' new life unveiled

Article Last Updated: 5/11/2005 06:48 AM

Fairgrounds' new life unveiled

By Greg Moberly/Times-Herald, Vallejo TheReporter.Com

An East Coast developer unveiled plans Tuesday night in Vallejo designed to revitalize the Solano County Fairgrounds into a year-round attraction.

Arlington Va.-based Mills Corp. would start from the ground up, melding a new arena exhibition hall, a temporary livestock building, and fair administration buildings with destination retail stores, a hotel-convention center and community attractions including a county welcome center.
These are part of the preliminary master plan concepts that Brian Clark, Mills' development consultant, revealed for the fairgrounds, which is nestled near the junction of Interstate 80 and Highway 37.

Clark showed the plans to a joint meeting of the Solano County Board of Supervisors and the Solano County Fair Board Association Board of Directors at McCormack Hall on Tuesday.
"I'm excited with what we've put together," Clark said. "Now it's time to hear from the people of Solano County."

Clark said he wanted residents to suggest special design characteristics.

Most fair elements would be together in a central location on the fairgrounds, Clark said. The concepts include plans for 252,000 square feet of commercial space, 57,800 square feet of restaurants on the outer edges, 230,700 square feet of entertainment-hotel space, 400,0000 square feet of destination retail space and 200,000 square feet of specialty retail stores.
It would all be spread out on the fairgrounds with wide pedestrian walkways. Fairgrounds Drive landscaping would be spruced up and the entrance across from Six Flags Marine World would be improved.

Bikers, walkers and hikers could enjoy an added benefit with a 1.63-mile trail planned around the perimeter of the fairgrounds.

Solano County Supervisor Barbara Kondylis said she generally favored what she heard, but wanted plenty of trees to shade fairgoers and shoppers on hot days.
Mills will hold its first open-house meeting tonight at 6:30 at the USA World Classics car museum on Sonoma Boulevard. Other presentations are set for 7 p.m. at the Tuesday Vallejo City Council meeting, 7 p.m. at the May 24 Dixon City Council meeting and 6:30 p.m. May 25 at the Solano County Fairgrounds.

Specifics of the concepts revealed Tuesday will be available at beginning Monday.

Mills will reveal a preliminary master plan including a revised layout, a financial feasibility analysis, a preliminary development and construction schedule, traffic study and construction cost estimates by Sept. 15. By the end of the year, the county board of supervisors will decide whether they want to proceed with the plans.

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