Solano County

County wants to transform fairgrounds

By From page A1 | April 13, 2014

FAIRFIELD — Solano County has some big decisions to make in coming years on how to redevelop its 149-acre fairgrounds property in Vallejo, with a $94 million, 25-year plan on the table.

The county is thinking big. It wants to transform an aging, underutilized fairgrounds into what a county report calls “an iconic, region-serving public entertainment destination.”

At one time, the annual fair used much of the property. People came for such events as horse racing. But horse racing is gone and much of the land now sits unused.

Solano County’s plan calls for renovating 35 acres for the five-day, annual Solano County Fair. Existing buildings would be improved. A 20,000-square-foot exhibition hall would be replaced with a 72,000-square-foot hall, with the idea of attracting more events and revenues year-round to the property.

The county also has plans for the remaining 114 acres. A Main Street, USA-style area with shops and restaurants would be created along a creek flowing through a park-like setting. Visitors might be able to use pedal boats in the creek. An amusement park could offer rides year-round.

This reborn fairgrounds would be a mix of public development and private development on leased land, with the county remaining the landowner.

A financing plan calls for the county to issue bonds in phases to pay for renovations and for new roads, sewer lines and other infrastructure. Fairground revenues, property taxes and development are to ultimately pay for the bonds and turn the venture into a money-maker, if all goes as envisioned.

Solano County could lose $3.3 million over the first five years of the project, a county report said. But it should make $7.1 million from years six to 15, the report said.

When completed, the project is to bring in $3.7 million annually for the county while costing $500,000 annually. Vallejo could net $1.7 million annually, the report said.

The county has used $4.4 million from its general fund to plan the venture. This money is to be repaid when the project begins making money.

Whoever is elected to the Board of Supervisors will have a major influence on what happens next. The county has finished the major planning for the project and will turn its attention to financing initial phases.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 7 comments

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  • Dr RussApril 13, 2014 - 9:29 am

    I can just see the advertisements now. "Solano County Fairgrounds, come for the fun, but stay for the armed robbery". No one goes to Vallejo voluntarily. Why not appropriate those funds to building a decent middle school or high school in Fairfield? Instead of the future felon factories we have now. Good schools attract quality residents and capital to an area.

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  • oh pleaseApril 13, 2014 - 11:55 am

    Just what we need,more retail. I'm sure this Amazon thing isn't going to last and all the shopping centers within sight of the Fairgrounds, and the commercial space on Sonoma Blvd and the commercial space in Vallejo's neighboring cities are all going to be leased to capacity. Right?

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  • BrandyApril 14, 2014 - 11:32 am

    sounds like an opportunity...for change! More Jobs for struggling unemployed productive citizens of Vallejo.

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  • George Guynn, JrApril 15, 2014 - 9:55 am

    As presently planned, this project is a $94 million dollar black hole! With plans like this, taxes can only go up! It sure would be nice if new blood at the Board of Sups changed this direction.

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  • Questions ?April 15, 2014 - 10:10 am

    Please..... "The Report" where is the report? Is it available for public review and analysis? Seems much money has already been spent on Consulting Fees... Projections we don't need no Stinking Projections... they are just that... wishful thinking... You can not shop and party your way out of recessions. Maybe we should look at Vacaville's Adventures in Babysitting the Nut Tree Complex... is this making money or losing money... was a BOND taken out to finance this... Seems lots of retail space is empty there... just asking... County Supervisors please make the distinction between "Wants" and Needs... " Solano County’s plan calls for renovating 35 acres for the five-day, annual Solano County Fair. Existing buildings would be improved. A 20,000-square-foot exhibition hall would be replaced with a 72,000-square-foot hall, with the idea of attracting more events and revenues year-round to the property." People all this money for 5 Days and most of the population of Solano does not attend... so a lot of money for a small percent of the population using the venue.... Just move the Fair to Dixon and save the money... Common Sense... What is wrong with Common Sense?

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  • http://politicalvelcraft.org/2009/11/24/harry-reids-acorn-executive-off-to-jail-oh-what-a-surprise/April 15, 2014 - 10:42 am

    Google... Harry Reid’s Acorn Executive Off To Jail – Oh What A Surprise!!!! Posted on November 24, 2009 Good Diagram of election fraud connections... YOUR SIDE CHEATS ALSO MICHAEL

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  • NEVERMINDApril 15, 2014 - 10:43 am

    I did not put this in the correct place.

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