Monday, September 12, 2005

Horse track plan good for community - Reporter Editor

Article Launched: 09/11/2005 07:53:16 AM

Horse track plan good for community
Reporter Editor:

I am all for the Dixon Downs proposal. Those who missed seeing the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, or the Belmont Stakes this past spring missed great entertainment. Each of these tracks was incredible. The grounds were magnificent. The fields and stands were packed with people. The horses and trainers were regulated.

There were great stories that came out of each race, from a long shot winning the derby, to a near-disaster happening on the final turn of the Preakness, to great desire winning the Belmont by six lengths. Who will forget Afleet Alex and Alice's Lemonade Stand giving back to the community and being a part of a real-life situation?

We could have something similar right here in Dixon, only on a smaller scale. I can envision jobs for our young people, as well as an additional market for the grain and hay products of our local farmers. Yes, horses are agriculture, too. They too could have a great place to live and run.

Dixon is never going to be the small town that it once was. It is still hard for me not to see cows and sheep in green pastures as I come over the overpass on my way home. The development and huge houses south of town emphasize to me that Dixon is no longer that small rural town that I once loved. We have to work towards the future, take advantage of our location and try to keep agriculture in our community.

I guess that's the main reason why I support the Dixon Downs project - it relates to agriculture. I have lived in this city for a long time and appreciate the agricultural feeling of our community. When I see the once-rural neighborhood spotted with industrial warehouses and big semi-trucks, my heart just sinks.

There are those who say that the horse facilities will cause unwanted odors and waste. Yes, manure will be something that is created at Dixon Downs. That is true. On my own home ranch, I consider manure build-up to be a major problem. However, there is a plan in place that calls for timely manure removal and a program for fly control. My outfit is rather small, but having a plan is what is important.

My daughter has worked at several fairs that have racetrack facilities. She has seen and experienced the plans that these facilities have for manure removal. She tells me that the manure is transported in covered trucks usually to mushroom farms. None of the waste stays on site very long.

The agricultural heritage that is a part of Dixon is something that I would like to maintain. Because change is something that is going to occur in our community whether we like it or not, I think that Dixon Downs will help hold on to some of that agricultural feeling that many so treasure. I think Dixon Downs is a good choice for the land and for our community.

Lucy Vassar, Dixon

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