Few deny that something needs to be done about the gloomy asphalt hill that is the current fairgrounds. Revenues have been trending downward for years, as has racetrack attendance, though because of a dwindling reserve fund the fairgrounds have yet to cost taxpayers a dime.
Defenders of the fairgrounds say the city’s board of fair commissioners has purposely hindered improvement by refusing long-term leases at the track.
One can find both views in the neighborhood itself, where the debate has been going on for years, and where “Save Our Fairgrounds” and “No Racetrack” signs face off on opposite lawns.
Regardless of my sense that the NY Times piece was square-dealing relative to most local reportage, it is still being panned by some neighborhood leaders as perpetuating myths of nostalgia vs. progress instead of describing dynamics of community determination vs top-down rule.
I do not disagree that the latter dynamics have been ignored by the media, but to a certain extent that is also due to themes that each side chooses to inflate. As much as I try to challenge free-floating assumptions that the Mayor's Office can possibly be on the side of progress while he ignores community-based efforts and democratic process, it does not help my case when racetrack proponents conflate preserving public parkland with a generational issue of memories or legacies in racing families.
Nonetheless, I aim to recognize improvements in journalistic coverage of local events as they happen. All things being equal, the NY Times provided stronger coverage than others in my opinion.