Community shares concerns for new fair location

BLOOMINGDALE, Ga. – It was a full house at Thursday night’s public meeting with a lot of mixed emotions.

Some people were for the Coastal Empire Fair and some were there to get more information, but most say they just don’t want it.

“It’s ludacris,” Michael Ray, who’s against the fair, said. “For this little town to assume that kind of responsibility on a little two lane road that has one lane coming and one lane going. There’s no way to move the crowd.”

Traffic is just one of the concerns community members have about calling Ottawa farms in Bloomingdale home to the popular fair.

“If you have an emergency there’s no way no fire truck, ambulance or anything is going to get in there,” Ray said.

Security is another issue.

“There have been fights in the parking lots and fights on streets after leaving,” Ray said. “There’s been stabbings, I mean, it’s a history.”

However, not everyone is against the idea.

“A week of inconvenience of traffic I think is a small price to pay for the possible revenue stream and the overall benefits that it brings to the community of Bloomingdale,” David Otakie, who approves the fair, said.

A handful of people at the meeting don’t think the town was well represented to help council make this big decision.

“The most vocal members of the community are the ones in the immediate impact area closest to the fair grounds and I think that that’s an understandable response,” Otakie said. “However, I don’t believe its representative of the community of Bloomingdale as a whole.”

The fair board was able to speak their peace and so did the mayor. Ben Rozier, Bloomingdale mayor, believes it would be good for the area.

They’ll get security help from surrounding agencies and figure out a plan for the road.

But Michael Ray, who’s served on city council in the past, thinks they’ll make a different decision.

“I hope they’re seen the light that people here are not in favor of bringin something this big until they have a better planning, better staging, a better way to move traffic, security,” Ray said.

Bloomingdale isn’t the only location in consideration. The fair board does have a select few of other places in mind.

Bloomingdale city council won’t make their final decision until January 17th.

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