Size of river greenway negotiable
Fairgrounds, Kehoe to walk property later this month
The width of the proposed 100-foot-wide greenway on the Del Mar Fairgrounds is negotiable, California Sen. Christine Kehoe said in an interview this week.
The 22nd District Agricultural Association maintains that the greenway as proposed in the state Legislature would greatly inhibit its fiscal solvency. According to fairgrounds officials, a 100-foot-wide buffer along the north side of the San Dieguito River would force them to cancel nearly 100 trade shows, eliminate parking for recreational vehicles, the service yards and a recycling center, which produces $70,000 annually.
Kehoe, D-San Diego, said she believes the fairgrounds could adapt to a change in a small percentage of its property, but will work with its executives regardless.
“I want the board to know that I’m absolutely open to hearing what their suggestions are,” she said. “The fairgrounds have been used for activities and exhibits for decades. The fairgrounds are located on very sensitive and beautiful property along the San Dieguito River, which is one of our few coastal rivers. We want to see the fairgrounds future uses involve the river.”
Kehoe met with 22nd DAA Chief Executive Officer Tim Fennell, Chief Operating Officer Becky Bartling and President Barry Nussbaum on March 5. She said they expressed their concerns and that Nussbaum asked her to pull the legislation, which she declined to do. As part of its master plan, the 22nd DAA proposes a greenway in the same spot as Kehoe, but with widths varying from 30 to 105 feet.
“What we’re hoping is we can convince her that ‘Hey, we still want to put it in, but we don’t want to put it in such a way that it negatively impacts our ability to do business,’ ” Fennell said.
Kehoe said her goal for the state-owned fairgrounds, currently being shopped by the governor’s office, is to preserve a stretch of land dedicated to natural habitat and recreational use.
The senator will meet again later this month with members of the 22nd DAA. They will walk the property along the San Dieguito River and talk about options for the greenway.
“I just want to see with my own eyes what these distances are,” Kehoe said.
Fennell said he expects a consensus to be reached between the senator and the board.
“Sen. Kehoe is a good senator,” he noted. “Reasonable people can come to reasonable solutions, and I think that’s going to happen ultimately.”
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- Kehoe introduces bill to create greenway along San Dieguito River
- Kehoe introduces greenway bill
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- District supports green space
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