Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Dixon Council Discusses Race Track Proposal, But Not Decision

Dixon Council Discusses Race Track Proposal, But Not Decision
By Ian Thompson

DIXON - The Dixon City Council started its own deliberations over whether to approve building a race track in town with all the care of a soldier gingerly feeling his way through a minefield.

After three hours of going through the environmental impact report point-by-point, the council still had not gotten to debating a proposed development agreement with the track's developer as of 10 p.m.

"This is not a no-brainer. This is the most difficult decision I have ever made on this board," said councilman Loren Ferrero, a sentiment with which the other councilmembers agreed.

Mayor Mary Ann Courville reiterated that a lot of work and public testimony has gone into the race track proposal, and that "Dixon will survive with or without this project."

Councilwatchers, both for and against the proposed Dixon Downs race track, did not expect a decision Tuesday but are hoping for one on Friday when the council meets again in special session.

It is now up to the council to vote on changing the city's general plan and rezoning a 260-acre site in northeast Dixon next to Interstate 80 to allow Canadian-based Magna Entertainment to build the Dixon Downs racetrack complex.

Magna wants to build what it says will be a state-of-the-art racetrack that will bring money and jobs to Dixon as well as jump-start commercial development of the city's northeast quadrant.

The track is the first phase of a complex that will also have a hotel, good restaurants and a pedestrian-friendly shopping area.

On Tuesday, Courville sounded the most supportive of the council, saying she was impressed with an agreement between Magna and construction unions over an apprenticeship program to help Dixon youth.

She also pointed out that Magna's project will put in the water, sewer and other infrastructure that will allow more development of the city's largely vacant northeast quadrant.

Councilman Michael Smith addressed public suggestions that the land could have gone to other industries noting that Magna was the only one that did not ask for large subsidies to develop.

He noted that commercial projects in Vacaville such as Genentech and the new Nut Tree were possible only with significant city redevelopment funding.

"Dixon felt that development has to pay its own way," Smith said. "That is why we don't have all the things on the public's wish list."

Its supporters state the track will make Dixon a regional entertainment destination that is a more productive use for the land than what was proposed before.

The track's opponents say the track will bring traffic congestion to northern Dixon, create more crime and harm the community's small-town feel without living up to the promises of economic prosperity that Magna has made.

Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or at

Solano's Got It!

Solano's Got It!
The Best That Northern California Has To Offer.

Blog Archive