District supports green space

By 22nd district agricultural association

The 22nd District Agricultural Association has long been a supporter of the San Dieguito River Park and Coast to Crest Trail.

In 2005 the District signed an agreement with the San Dieguito River Park Joint Powers Authority to establish the Coast to Crest trail on the south portion of the property between Jimmy Durante Boulevard and the freeway. In 2007, the 22nd DAA assisted the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy in building this trail.

Most recently the 22nd DAA helped fund a study to determine an alignment through the Districts Equestrian facility Horsepark for the Coast to Crest trail. The current Fairgrounds master plan and recently released draft environmental impact report includes an extension of this trail from Jimmy Durante Boulevard to the railroad tracks on the south side of district property.

District staff had several meetings with staff of the San Dieguito River Park JPA requesting input on the extension of the trail, which is addressed in the master plan and DEIR. This plan includes access for walkers, equestrians and cyclists as well as educational viewing areas of the river and lagoon with a goal to ultimately get the trail to the beach.

In developing the master plan, careful consideration was made regarding the Fairgrounds’ environmental footprint as well as how to best improve the property for the residents of San Diego County, the small business owners who make a living through the events at the Fairgrounds, as well as how to continue to grow the economic impact and jobs the facility creates for the region.

Each year between 2.5 million and 3 million guests visit the Del Mar Fairgrounds to attend the annual fair, race meet, home shows, horse shows, sporting events or other fun and educational events. It is imperative that any new development or modification to the property allows these uses to continue and thrive.

Fairgrounds events generate more than $400 million in economic impact annually for the region and create more than 5,000 full-time jobs; the importance of which is enhanced by the current double-digit unemployment in San Diego County.

The 22nd DAA is looking forward to discussions with Senator Christine Kehoe on what she is proposing as a greenway that is not already contemplated in the current master plan and draft EIR.

As the Del Mar Fairgrounds does not receive any tax subsidy, any additional greenway that is not already planned in the DEIR must be analyzed carefully to insure that current and future Fairgrounds operations or ability to service annual bond debts are not impacted.