From: ari (ariyana@ese.UCSC.EDU) Subject: vallejo times heraldFrom this morning's Vallejo Times Herald:
Pleasure Faire finds temporary home
Renaissance group reaches short-term agreement with city
by Sheryl A. Tankersley
The Renaissance Pleasure Faire has backed off of its demand for a permanent Mare Island site by next August.
Instead, fair managers have offered to hold a temporary version of the
event on the island next year and perhaps the year after that, while
long term details are worked out.
"If it takes three-to-five years for a developer to do a little housing project, what makes me think we can build a (fair) city in a year?" said Howaqrd Hamburg, vice president of the Renaissance Entertainment Corporation.
When he first toured Mare Island two weeks ago, In search of a site to relocate the Novato fair, Hamburg insisted the city provide infrastructure and landscaping by next August. He also wanted a 20-year lease agreeement on 100 acres of Mare Island property.
Given the constraints placed on the closed naval shipyard, Hamburg said on Wednesday that he realized his initial timeline was unrealistic.
A temporary fair, like the one produced in Novato for 27 years, could be held on the island without any changes to the property, he said. For now, he is only asking for a temporary use permit and a one-year lease.
"We've made our decision, we've chosen Vallejo. If Vallejo chooses us, we are ready to go," Hamburg said. "In order for that to be possible, we have to start right now."
Eventually, sewer, electrical and water lines would need to be installed for the permanent fair. But for now, portable restrooms, bottled water and electrical generators are acceptable," Hamburg said.
The question of who will pay for the future infrastructure and estimated $1.5 million in landscaping is still up in the air, but Hamburg said it does not need to be answered at this point.
"Some of it we do, some of it they do," Hamburg said. "Help might come in the form of commercial loans or development loans to us. Or it might be the developer does it. We haven't defined the infrastructure needs."
Vallejo's Community Development Director Al daSilva said he had asked the Navy to allow the porperty - which contains a former firing range and a dredge pond - to be leased. It is a routine request, as every piece of unleased property must be cleared through the Navy.
"(The Navy) is getting their staff together, they are going to be talking to environmental regulatory agencies from the state and explore that," daSilva said.
Even if the Navy allows the property to be leased, other factors must be considered before the city gives the go ahead.
"We haven't made an assessment on whether this would be feasible,"
daSilva said of the temporary fair. "If no additional costs are there and the city wouldn't be responsible for anything, then that is an idea."
"We may need to do roads, drainage. At this stage, (the temporary fair) is one of the options we are exploring," daSilva added.