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Most of those responding to this week’s online poll said that they believed the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds should remain as they are.
About 57 percent believed that the grounds should be kept as they are, while 19 percent thought some of the space should be reserved for the fair and the rest developed for another purpose. About 24.5 percent thought the entire area should be developed and the fairgrounds moved.
Here were some of the comments.
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“The fairgrounds are part of the heart, physically and culturally, of Petaluma and are a reflection of the history of the town. Once it is gone for a short term economic gain, that part of the town will be lost forever.”
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“We don’t need a Sonoma-Marin Fair in addition to the Sonoma County and Marin County Fairs. Use the property for something else (like a central park for the Farmer’s Market, recreation, sports, etc), lease it at a market rate, or just sell it.”
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“Leave the fairgrounds alone unless you plan to build a minor league baseball park which could also house concerts. No to housing or commercial development. Housing would undoubtedly be a lower income subsidized development that would be a dump in a couple years. I’ll be dead and buried before the Planning Commission or PCC would allow any useful commercial interests. Leave it alone for the fair and current users.”
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“There have been rumors for years about a tentative deal between the fair board (or at least a couple of its influential members) and the Regency shopping center owners that would carve up the fairgrounds for their benefit. One of your poll choices reflects this rumor pretty well. No, the only thing that needs to happen at the fairgrounds is that the racetrack should go away (sad but true) and be replaced with something that would generate more money for the city and be more environmentally friendly.”
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“Speaking as someone who has lived here her entire life and has been going to the fair since I was a child, it holds many memories for me and my family. I’m sure others feel that way too. It’s the one last thing that has stayed unchanged in what was once a small town. Why does everyone want to ruin it? We are one of the few towns left that can say they have a small town fair and I like it.”
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“Give the fairgrounds a long lease so it can make improvements which can make the fairgrounds more accessible. Please do not destroy the middle of town by building more mixed use ugly buildings.”
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“Great opportunity for new smart-growth development in the center of town with all infrastructure nearby. A minor league sized baseball stadium as the core component, closest to Target, surrounded by some pedestrian oriented commercial and some medium to medium-high density apartments and townhomes, similar to what is planned for the train station area downtown. The fair is such a fun but rare event, it shouldn’t cause us to waste that precious location 11.5 months of the year!”
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“Stop with the redevelopment already! We are going to have to change our name to South Rohnert Park!”
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“The fair is a part of the community fabric and should not be changed. The people of Petaluma voted to provide the facility years ago and a few newcomers should not change the wishes of those that have gone before.”
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“The city needs to take back the fairgrounds and develop it in a way that will add to the city’s coffers. The fair can move elsewhere. It’s crazy for the city not to take advantage of this prime real estate for everyone’s benefit.”
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“Although I voted for a new site use, I think the new use should include agriculturally-focused elements that would evoke the role of the fairgrounds. Perhaps a permanent farmers market, extensive rooftop farming, and farm-to-table restaurants. The best use of the site is as something other than fairgrounds, but the site should continue to act as a showplace for local agriculture.”
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“Your survey needs more options. Keep the fair where it is. It is one of the last old school traditions. But make the area available for other uses during the off season, community uses, not necessarily commercial uses. Don’t sell any of it off. A nice piece of community open space in the center of town is not a bad thing.”
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“Development? Are you kidding me? Isn’t Petaluma getting enough of the D-word? How many more shopping centers, housing tracts and other tree-destroying plans do we need around here? If there is any development to be made, how about a tree museum so future kids will know that Petaluma once had trees?”
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“I would be OK with educational or sports uses, but I am not interested in any more commercial uses in that location.”
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