Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Magna Promises Money in Dixon Race Track Agreement

Magna Promises Money in Dixon Race Track Agreement
By Ian Thompson

DIXON - Dixon will get $25 million for road and infrastructure improvements and a percentage of any wagering done at Dixon Downs, according to a development agreement released Tuesday.

The proposed agreement comes six years after Magna Entertainment Corp. first expressed interest in building a race track and entertainment complex in northeast Dixon. Magna wants to build a 260-acre complex next to Interstate 80 that will include a state-of-the-art horse racing track and supporting facilities, entertainment center, hotel, retail area and offices.

The Dixon Planning Commission will a series of public hearings on the proposal starting Sept. 13. It will also meet Sept. 14, Sept. 18, Sept. 20-21 and Sept. 25 if necessary to get all the public testimony in.

While the hearings will be held in the Dixon City Council chamber at 600 East A St., the overflow from what is expected to be a large crowd can watch from Dixon's Senior Multi-Use Center at 201 South Fifth St.

The final Dixon Downs environmental impact report came out earlier this month. Traffic problems are the biggest concern, it said, although opponents believe Dixon Downs will not only clog roads, but also bring more crime and odors from the horse barns, and stretch Dixon's public safety services.

Magna's representatives contend Dixon Downs will be a major financial boon to the city once finished, bringing in an estimated $3 million to the city from sales taxes, hotel taxes and other revenue.

City staff recommended the City Council approve the EIR, amend the city's General Plan and rezone the site for the race track and entertainment facility, a report said. They also recommended the council adopt the development agreement.

The agreement between Magna and Dixon has several provisos which require Magna to:

n Spend $25 million on infrastructure improvements ranging from sewer and water lines to roadway and intersection work. Road improvements involve building a parkway through the site from Pedrick Road to Vaughn Road, expanding Pedrick Road, extending East Dorset Road, and improving North First Street and Pedrick Road interchanges with I-80.

- Give the city a percentage of the wagers made at Dixon Downs which could raise about $800,000 a year for the city.

- Pay the city about $90,000 a year to put race track workers in the track's workers housing.

- Pay the city a $1.2 million agricultural mitigation fee.

- Put 1 percent of Dixon Downs' profits in a charitable foundation which will spend the money on community projects.

- Hold annual job fairs for Dixon residents.

- Create a transportation management program to reduce the impact of traffic generated by Dixon Downs.

Once the commission makes its recommendations, the proposal is expected to go to the City Council some time in mid-October.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

At a Glance

Who: Dixon Planning Commission

What: Dixon Downs race track proposal

When: 7 p.m. Sept. 13

Where: Dixon City Council chamber, 600 East A St.

Info: 678-7000

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