Carbon lawmakers address motorsport issues, proposals
The issue of motorsports in the local area surface twice during the Carbon County Commission meeting last Wednesday, with different slants coming from different points of view.
The first group on the agenda was Castle County King Crawlers, represented by organization spokesman Scott Edwards.
"I have come here representing a number of people in the community who would like to set up an obstacle course for vehicles on the southside of the motocross track at the fairgrounds," explained Edwards "We have approached the fair board about it and members have given their approval. Now we need to know what the next step to making it become a reality is."
The club had a number of members in attendance at the meeting. The members prepared a power point presentation about the group's focus on maneuvering four-wheel drive vehicles through obstacle and slick rock courses.
However, the commissioners delayed viewing the presentation and asked the club to set up a special educational session on the sport to evaluate all factors, including the proposed size of the course as well as building maintenance costs.
"There are a number of concerns we have about this type of project, but the biggest one is cost," indicated Commissioner Mike Milovich. "We have no money in the budget for this year, but we could look at next year."
The group said much of the course could be set up with only property and volunteer labor. However, the members admitted one obstacle - a manmade slick rock trail- may cost $10,000 or more to complete.
"That part of the course is the section that would have to be concrete to simulate slick rock since none naturally occurs in this area," said Edwards.
As they evaluated the idea, the commissioners also wondered whether the course could be used for ATVs as well.
"I think my biggest concern is that an area of four to five acres isn't big enough," pointed out Milovich. "I also wonder if it would work for the future. Maybe we should look at some other property options that might work better over the long term."
Commissioner Steve Burge suggested developing a comprehensive plan for the course.
"Once that is done, maybe we can work on some funding options such as grants," said Burge.
The discussion turned to location alternatives and how the activity could affect the county.
A similar course could attract people from out of the area who would spend money in the county, noted one club member. Competitions could also be slated that could bring in thousands of visitors, according to the group.
Following the discussion, the lawmakers moved on to next item on the agenda, a second motor-sports issue .
Desert Thunder Raceway owner Harvey Howard appeared before the commission and reported on his dream of building a drag strip in combination with the oval that currently exists at the track.
"I have met with the airport people as you suggested the last time I spoke with you about this and they gave no indication that they would have a problem with it being built there," explained Howard.
Howard also asked the county lawmakers about the proposed indoor/outdoor gun range in the area and whether the project would affect his plans.
Burge indicated that the shooting range would be located south of the present raceway, while Howard's plans for expansion would involve an area toward the north.
Referring to what the Castle Country King Crawlers had proposed, Howard pointed out that the county should "build the drag strip" and he would run it.
"Seriously, a project such as this will cost in the range of $1.2 million," related Howard. "I am not here asking for anything. We are just here as a private business that wants to benefit the county and I needed to know the plans concerning your ideas for development and to let you know what I am thinking."
The commissioners were curious about how Howard's efforts at the race track worked out last year.
"We had over 14,000 people come through the gate for our races last year, with about 160 people from out of the area paying to attend each of the 14 races last season," noted Howard. "I figured out some averages and, with food, lodging and other things, it was over $100,000 of an impact on the counties economy. It also generated over $6,500 in sales tax ."
The commissioners discussed Howard's ideas and agreed that the county would be supportive of such a project if the Desert Thunder Raceway could get the financing.
It was brought out at the commission meeting that some residents in northeast Price were apparently not excited about the idea, seemingly because of the noise on race nights people can hear from over the hills above town.
It was pointed out, however, that the reason the track was built in the present location was to avoid similar problems. Private residences were not close to the site at the time the raceway was constructed.