Local

Chowchilla considers development proposal

Monday, September 12, 2011

Empty fields South of Chowchilla are the proposed site of a big commercial and entertainment complex that city leaders have been told could include a car race track. It's being pitched by Fresno based developer Bud Long. Despite a recent controversy over a failed race track development in Tulare, and past controversies in the city of Fresno, the city of Chowchilla is interested because Long is talking about jobs.

Chowchilla Mayor David Alexander wants to consider Long's proposal. "With the potential of 6 hundred temporary jobs and two thousand long term jobs that for our area is enticing." He said.

But was a similarly promising offer the city of Tulare bit on in 2008, when Long proposed building the Tulare Motor Speed Park. Long billed it as a NASCAR quality race track with hotels and commercial developments. But, it all fell apart last year. No development. No jobs. The city of Tulare claimed Long owes them a million dollars, and he sued them city for nine million.

Chowchilla Mayor David Alexander says he's aware of Long's Tulare controversy. "Obviously being from the Valley we saw what took place in Tulare, I don't know all the dynamics, I wasn't on the City Council. The reality of it is, our staff will work with them."

Alexander says the city of Chowchilla isn't putting up any money, yet. After the City Council unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding, pledging to consider Long's plans, he hurried out of the meeting and he didn't want to talk to us about the proposed project.

Bud Long had successful development projects in Fresno, but one big and complex deal with the city of Fresno on the new convention center exhibit hall ran into financing problems and the city had to take over. He was also a founder of Club One Casino, but had to relinquish his share after being convicted of tax evasion. But, Bud Long is back with a plan, and folks in Chowchilla appear willing to give him a chance.

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chowchilla, madera county, local, gene haagenson
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