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Western Fair Redesign Ideas Pitched

Published: March 30, 2016 11:38 am ET

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Have you ever looked at an existing racetrack complex and imagined what it could be like if you had the ability to redesign it? For example, maybe pop a hotel up over here, or erect a parking garage there, etc. Such ideas have recently been thrown around regarding The Raceway at Western Fair District, and an official has said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if we implemented a good number of them.”

As an article by The London Free Press explains, a team of urban-design students from nearby Fanshawe College recently bested 11 other post-secondary teams in an annual urban-design competition. For this year’s installment of the competition, the design teams were tasked with creating plans for the Western Fair District.

The ideas from the winning team – known as the ‘HexGon design team’ – are not binding in any way, shape or form, but Tim Kelly, the chairman of Western Fair District’s board, has said the ideas were worth examining.

“It would be crazy not to look at them and I wouldn’t be surprised if we implemented a good number of them,” he said.

Some of the ideas that the winning team came up with were a hotel that would be attached to a larger casino, a parking garage, a farmers’ market ‘business incubator,’ a transit hub that would be adjacent to the location, and a horse track that morphs into a concert venue ‘easily.’

A member of the winning team from Fanshawe has said that the group really believes in the viability of the plans it produced. “You usually work on school projects, hand it in and never look at it again. But this plan — we truly believe this can be realized in London,” said the team member, Patrice Mitchell.

The article has cited Kelly as saying that there are ‘big changes’ coming to the Western Fair District in the next year and a half, and that it would be “dangerous” for the organization to become too dependent on revenue derived from slot machines.

“At one point, there was a great dependence on the slots, but all of our business units are making a concerted effort to ensure they contribute on our own,” Kelly was quoted as saying.

In addition to Mitchell, the other members of the victorious HexGon design team were Althea Reid, Scotty Gardner and Jasmin Brinovcar.

(With files from The London Free Press)

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