The demise of the Altamont Speedway west of town raised the question of the viability of a race track, and the prospect of hearing the sounds of race cars roaring around a track a short distance away prompted the raising of a yellow caution flag in many people’s minds.
And now the original plan has been greatly expanded to include a golf course, a marina, an amusement park, a hotel and convention center, a vintner’s center and a casino.
The grandiose nature of the proposal boggles my mind.
The city is approaching the proposal with caution, as indeed it should. City Council members and staffers are asking if there is adequate financial backing for such a huge development.
They also should be asking if the proposed site, much of it on city-owned land, is appropriate for such a large, multifaceted complex. The city purchased much of the former Holly Sugar land to broadcast sewage waste. That idea didn’t work out, but development of sports fields and a county park certainly makes a lot of sense, especially as a transition between development along the north side of the freeway and agricultural lands to the north.
And the fact that the site for what would be called Spirit of California is in a flood plain can’t be ignored and looms as a major consideration.
Anyway, we’ll have to see what develops, but right now count me as a cautious skeptic on this one. I don’t think I’m the only person around here who feels that way, but I’d be interested to hear how others look at the proposal.
A new Giant Orange?
After the recent column item about “the Orange Juice War” in the 1930s between the Giant Orange and upstart Orange Basket, comments and bits of information keep trickling in via email.
Jason Bezis, newsletter editor for the Livermore Heritage Guild, reports that a recent story in the Fresno Bee noted the demise of the Giant Orange at the junction of Highways 99 and 152 at Fairmead in Madera County. The orange-shaped stand is now in a Chowchilla storage yard.
The article also suggests that a Giant Orange might still be active in Redding.
Meanwhile, a guy named Richard Ameil, who operates Grill-a-Burger in Palm Desert, emailed to say he plans to open a Giant Orange hamburger stand early next year in Sacramento. More throughout Northern California could follow.
Befitting the current marketing emphasis on being “green” and “sustainable,” Richard’s Giant Orange stand would feature burgers that contain “hand-crafted, grilled-to-order, moist and juicy patties made daily from fresh (never frozen) 100 percent all-natural USDA-inspected choice beef — free of artificial hormones, antibiotics and other things that don’t belong in hamburgers.”
Golly, now all you would have to do to be completely green would be to add a few bean sprouts and replace the ground beef with tofu. Well, maybe not.
A birthday bash
The recent column item about the Lincoln Highway running through the Tracy area beginning in 1913 has, as expected, produced a response from Gary Kinst, the former Tracyite who has become the regional authority on American’s first continental highway system.
Gary reports that because 2013 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Lincoln Highway, “a huge celebration” is planned for next June in Kearney, Neb., which is the center point between New York and San Francisco. A caravan along the highway’s original route is also planned.
“The caravan through California will follow the 1913 Pioneer Route and pass through Tracy,” Gary reported. “Stops are planned at the Duarte Garage in Livermore and the California Auto Museum in Sacramento.”
The caravan’s route through the Tracy area will take the vintage vehicles along 11th Street — it should be quite a sight.
An afterthought: Let’s tack together a temporary Giant Orange stand on an 11th Street lot, where the Lincoln Highway caravaners can stop a few moments, refresh themselves with some freshly squeezed orange juice and be participants in another chapter of Tracy’s highway history.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at email@example.com.