Studies on Dixon Downs Proposal Set to Begin

Detailed studies for the proposed $250-million Dixon Downs in Northern California are set to begin now that Magna Entertainment Corp. has received approval from the Dixon City Council for an agreement to pay for consultants for the extensive reports.

MEC has deposited $200,000 to begin the evaluation process, which is expected to cost $1 million and take from 12 to 18 months, according to project coordinator Don Erickson. The company paid $6.3 million in May 2001 for the 260-acre site 19 miles west of Sacramento off of Interstate 80.

The reimbursement agreement approved by the city council May 27 is a technical contract that protects the town of 17,000 from incurring debts on the project and makes Dixon the lead agency in the evaluation process, Erickson said. The city will hire the consultants for various studies on environmental impact issues, public safety and traffic, economics, and long-term changes in the community as a result of the project.

"We're very anxious to get this process under way and we are committed to a thorough review," Magna land-use attorney Cleve Livingston told the council. "We think this project has a lot to offer the city of Dixon, and we're happy to be undertaking a process that will provide an opportunity to demonstrate (its) merits."

Erickson said a "roll-out meeting" of the project's sponsors with city and area residents and commercial interests is planned for late July or August.

MEC is proposing a two-phase development that would include the track, simulcast center and stables, as well as a 10-acre recreational park, a 240-room hotel and conference center, a multi-screen theater, restaurants, and office and retail space.