Cairo- There's a battle over motocross facilities being waged in Grady County.
Professional motocross racers like Josh Woods aren't scared of heights. But they are scared that they won't be able to practice correctly at facilities in Grady County. "I'm making a living doing this. And this is what I train for. And I work during the week just like any other professional athlete," he says.
Track operators are battling with the people who live around the facilities about their noise levels. "The noise variance that we would like to see is an increase from the 75 decibel peak," says track owner Raymond Woods.
The tracks' neighbors want the county to quiet the bikes even more. But the operators say that could be dangerous to professional riders who need to practice like they race. "The performance of these bikes depends on being able to exhaust at the rate they do. And that's going to require a little bit louder than the 75 dB," says Woods.
Track operators say that if riders can't train properly, they'll go elsewhere, something that would be a huge loss to Grady County. They say these facilities are major contributors to the economy. "We deal with probably 12 to 14 different accounts we have within the area that deal with plumbing, electrical services, building supplies," says Woods.
Most of the operators say they're willing to compromise with their neighbors. But until the dust settles, the pros are begging both sides to just let them ride. "It gives me a place to go and do the training that I need to do to get where I need to be to race at that level," says Josh Woods. It's a battle over noise that could end up being heard in a courtroom.
The people who oppose the noise variances had their chance to speak last night. They were heard during a commissioner's meeting at the Grady County courthouse. The main courtroom was full to the point that some people were even standing in the hallway.
The meeting was not to vote or make a decision on the variances, but to simply hear the arguments. People opposed to the motocross mostly say that the noise causes their property values to drop. "A small increase in decibels represents a great increase in intensity. The sound intensity multiplies by 10," says Janet Sumner.
Some people argued that they work overnights, and the tracks don't let them get any sleep during the day. Others say the noise is so annoying that it takes away from family gatherings, yard work, and even simple relaxation.