Updated on 09/15/2011 2:08PM

Magna begins process

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Officials with Magna Entertainment plan to meet with residents of Dixon, Calif., on Oct. 17 to discuss a proposal to build a racetrack and year-round training center in the small northern California town, Magna officials said Monday.

"We obviously plan to move forward on the track, and so we want to move forward on the basis of being good neighbors," said Ron Volkman, a Magna official. "We want the people to know what our house will look like and what we will bring to the table."

Magna has already purchased 225 acres of land just outside of Dixon for potential development, and it has an option to purchase an additional 25 acres.

The new racetrack, which could cost $150 million to build and be open for live racing in 2003, would likely pick up the dates on the northern California circuit that will be lost when Bay Meadows Race Course in San Mateo closes at the end of 2002. Magna owns the Bay Meadows racing license, but the land beneath the racetrack, which is owned by Paine Webber, is expected to be developed beginning in 2003.

Before Magna can act on any development plans, however, the company will need the approval of Dixon officials. So far, the city council has not addressed the issue, and the proposal has been contentious among Dixon residents.

Local critics of the project have said the track would attract undesirable elements to the town, while supporters have said the project would generate taxes for the city.