Kehoe’s fairgrounds greenway bill clears Senate
Sen. Christine Kehoe’s greenway bill got the green light from the California State Senate today.
The proposal would mandate the Del Mar Fairgrounds develop and maintain a 100-foot wide environmental buffer to run along the west side of Jimmy Durante Boulevard, north of the San Dieguito River by 2014. The greenway would ensure public access along the river, not only for pedestrians and bikers, but to preserve its natural habitat and setting.
Kehoe, D-San Diego, has said this is especially important given Del Mar Fairground’s master plan for expansion, as well as the prospect of the Governor’s office selling the property to make up for a $20 billion deficit.
“Today’s vote illustrates the strong support for protecting this special state asset and creating new recreational opportunities in the area,” she said in a press release. “The Fairgrounds is a regional attraction that will only be further enhanced with the addition of a greenway along the river’s edge.”
The 22nd District Agricultural Association, which manages the fairgrounds, has adamantly campaigned against the greenway, saying it would cause an extreme financial hardship, jeopardizing its ability to meet its required bond debt covenant of $4.8 million per year.
CEO Tim Fennell has said the greenway would eliminate the fairgrounds ability to host more than 100 annual exhibits due to its location on loading and unloading areas for its halls. He said the fairgrounds would also have to relocate its lucrative recycling center, and it would eliminate a major safety route in the event of an emergency or evacuation. The 22nd DAA estimates the greenway would cost $1.3 million to construct, $1.8 million to relocate its recycling center and $8 million to move its service yards.
Kehoe’s said the greenway represents just 4 percent of the fairgrounds, and does not interfere with the race meet or the San Diego County Fair, its highest revenue producing events.
The 22nd DAA’s efforts to convince three Senate committees of these hardships have so far failed. The greenway bill, SB 1177, now moves to the state Assembly side, and will next be heard by its agricultural committee.
- Kehoe introduces greenway bill
- Kehoe introduces bill to create greenway along San Dieguito River
- Greenway bill moves ahead
- Kehoe announces plan for greenway along San Dieguito River
- Size of river greenway negotiable
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