In The News: Fairgounds In Natomas’ Future?

The big news in Natomas tonight is a proposal which would have the city and state swap land, build a new fairgrounds on the existing Arco site, a new arena in downtown, and develop the land currently occupied by the fairgrounds.

The Sac Bee broke news of the proposal one minute after Sacramento First task force launched its open house event at City Hall Thursday evening to unveil details of all seven proposals submitted for consideration, including one backed by area businesses that would build a new sports and entertainment complex on city-owned land adjacent to Arco. The NBA and Maloofs apparently support the land swap plan that is generating quite a buzz.

As the Bee went to press and TV news went the airwaves, THE BUZZ went online and asked our Facebook fans to weigh in on the possibility of the state fairgrounds moving to Natomas. Here is what was being posted:

“Ok, so the state sells Cal Expo – down with that. Kings get an arena downtown – very ok with that! State Fairgrounds in Natomas??? That I need to ponder… I just wonder what will take place at the fairgrounds when there’s no fair. Will it bring in enough people to sustain Natomas businesses (retail / restaurant)?”

“The fairgrounds are used practically every weekend of the year for home shows, harness racing, car shows, boat shows, etc.”

“Oh hell no!!! Just the suggestion is going to drive down our suffering property values.”

“I am okay with that idea… I am not unbelievably thrilled but it sounds like a decent solution to a problem that has been being talked about around here for what seems like forever.”

“I think it will be good for Natomas. That brings a LOT of people in and some of them will go to restaurants and stores before and/or after they visit the fair. Maybe that will help some of the struggling businesses out here.”

“I can smell the cows and horses from my house… yum. I think the option of the trash transfer station made me less squeamish.”

“Well, then we could house the homeless during the cold winter month like they do now at the state fairgrounds.”

“As long as it doesn’t stink it will be fine. Since it will be a new facility is should be quite nice!”

“I think we have been disappointed too many times to open the door for something that could have such a huge potentially negative impact on our community. Seems Waaaayyy to scary to even let the idea get any credibility. Not at all what I pictured for our community!”

“5 bedroom 3 bath house for sale. Moving due to unforeseen circumstances. Located just north of Arco arena. Purchased for 240k last summer. After new arena proposal now worth new value of 135k. We will accept any reasonable offer.”

“Selling due to a raise in insurance premiums due to increased crime from recent fairground addition.”

“Why don’t the Maloof boys just take one week’s worth of the kitty from the Palms, build a state of the art facility next to ARCO, turn ARCO into a state of the art parking lot, then get state of the art players so their state of the art fans will actually come to see games? And how much public money is at stake?”

To watch the Thursday night news, one would think the land swap plan is already a done deal, but the open house was simply part of the Sacramento First 12-member citizen task force’s plan to review proposals before making recommendations to the Mayor and Sacramento community.
Said Angelique Ashby, president of the Creekside Neighborhood Association and a candidate for city council, “The best thing we can do is stay in the room and be heard. This is an opportunity for us to engage in major development discussions and drive our own future.”


  1. As the ideas and concerns emerge about the new three-way land swap proposal, we should not assume anything, including what a “fairgrounds” would include or look like in Natomas.

    I think we all agree that a wholesale move of CalExpo to Arco Arena would be terrible. The CalExpo site overall is bad on so many levels.

    But we’re talking about a clean slate here. It requires a wide open mind. All of the concerns I have seen expressed so far are important and deserve discussion, but it is possible they can all be addressed or neutralized, such that the outcome could be superior for communities near all of the sites and for the city as a whole.

    I emphasize the word “possible” — it might turn out to be a bad deal for Natomas when the ink dries. Soon we will have a community-minded strong leader representing our interests with a proven track record putting community needs first, especially our safety.

    On this proposal, I’m neither a fan nor a naysayer, but I am listening, taking it all in, and trying to imagine all the possibilities, good and bad. Let’s all try not to commit one way or the other yet — this show is just getting started.

  2. Someone already sounds like a politician!

  3. I think it’s an excellent idea. My biggest fear is when the new arena is built outside of Natomas (and we know it will be) what will happen to that land? It’s got to make money some way for someone and apartments seem to be profitable for developers. I would hate to see that, or another series of boxy warehouse type buildings. It’s a big piece of land, it needs a big use.

  4. This could be good for the DNA. With the arena downtown and CalExpo in Natomas, the DNA would make a lot more sense assuming that those two destinations would have at least 1 stop each.

  5. Hmmmm, politicians count on the people having a short memory, but my memory is that the Swanston family made the land at Cal Expo available to state with the stipulation that if it EVER ceased to be the site of the state fair that the land would revert to the family’s ownership. I bet there are going to be some rich heirs and even richer lawyers if all this comes to pass.

  6. I’ll wait for the march 11 recommendations.have ideas and concerns.

  7. While I agree that many politicians tend to avoid taking a stance on controversial issues, reserving judgment until all the facts are in just makes sense. As the author of the original post, I can assure you I am not a politician nor do I have any desire to become one.

    Our local politicians have a history running with plans without getting all the facts or getting input from the community, so I would welcome a change to a more thoughtful, methodical, and inclusive approach to huge land use decisions such as this. One need only look around our community to see past mistakes that will be difficult if not impossible to fix.

    If after a thorough analysis it is determined that the proposal would not be good for Natomas or places a burden on taxpayers, then I will reject it and be quite vocal about doing so.

    Sometimes having an open mind is just having an open mind. :-)

  8. I’m fine with this plan. Natomas residents have to remember that most other areas outside of downtown are not destination areas. Elk Grove, Roseville, Rancho Cordova. There is no compelling reason for any non-resident to stop there. Natomas has always had the Kings arena and now will have the State Fair. I’m not complaining since we will still have something other areas don’t

  9. The fairgrounds plan needs to be evaluated as an option. The fairgrounds currently gets use every weekend of the year and could be good financially or Natomas. Put in a suitable outdoor amphitheater and bring some quality musical acts here and it is a winner!

  10. Anonyn at 3:08pm

    Natomas residents need to realize that we have been the city’s dumping ground for low income housing for several years. We have flood plain building restrictions, extreme lack of promised public transit, tons of empty office buildings, shuttered restaurants and poor schools. The state fair doesn’t bring in any more value than the arena, it’s simply a trade of mediocre for worse.

    Add to that bringing the winter homeless shelter to our neighborhood. I think we have enough…

  11. Is say git er done. Cal Expo is what North Natomas needs. It would bring tons of jobs, opportunity, and support from the community. The water park would be a super thing for all those bored youth roaming North Natomas with nothing to do in the summer. North Natomas should demand a bowling alley, batting cages and other goodies, too.

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