Fairgrounds development pact prepared for OK from Vallejo and county officials
Vallejo and county officials have agreed to present a plan next month to develop the Solano County Fairgrounds. The two sides agreed Wednesday to work up an agreement for city council and county supervisor approval. Consultant firm Economics Research Associates/AECOM presented a financial feasibility report showing that the development project, as presented by an approved vision plan for the site, was feasible…. A sports complex, an alternate use proposed for the site, could "end up as a long-term financial drain" if pursued, the consultants said…. The two groups, with Mayor Osby Davis and Councilwoman Stephanie Gomes representing Vallejo, and Supervisors Jim Spering and John Vasquez representing the county, discussed at length the finer points of a memorandum of understanding still in the works. Vallejo wants to include the city's Redevelopment Agency as a third partner in any agreement, as some fairgrounds property falls within the agency's Flosden development area. County officials said that a third partner was premature at best, unnecessary at worst. Spering… shared fears that the agency's obligation to provide a parking facility at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom at or before December 2011 would be shifted to the county. "Why would we want to burden the process with that obligation?" Spering asked…. "We don't need another partner," said Vasquez, representing parts of Vacaville and Fairfield. "We can end all of these conversations right now, if you want. We're the ones writing all the checks."… Assistant City Manager Craig Whittom described the meeting as a "very open exchange in regards to the project." "I'm confident we'll be able to move forward to our respective boards by February," he said. Whittom said city staff members may suggest hiring an outside consultant to determine what the public costs to Vallejo -- like additional emergency services -- versus the net revenue of developing the site. City staff, he said, has been consumed with employee labor negotiations. The issue is next set to go before the Vallejo City Council on Feb. 9.