Dougherty County Commissioners make a decision on speedway - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty County Commissioners make a decision on speedway

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May 5, 2008

Dougherty County -- Dougherty County Commissioners were torn about the re-zoning of the Albany Motor Speedway. And there was almost an even split between those who favored the citizens concerns and those who thought about the economic impact.

"At the end of the day we need to look at what makes our community, and our citizens make our community," said District 2 Commissioner, John Hayes.

"The economic impact is my problem. We need all we can get. We don't have people knocking on our door trying to bring something like this and bring in that kind of money," said District 6 Commissioner, Jack Stone.

But it was the results of a study completed years ago on this issue that helped them make the decision. County commissioners are proposing a 25-foot berm be built around the track to help lower the noise levels.

"A U-shaped berm, earthen berm, around the race track will give it the effect of a bowl. And the study said a minimum of 25-feet. So that's all I have to hang my hat on. Anything else is just hoping," said District 1 Commissioner, Lamar Hudgins.

Some commissioners still aren't sure this will solve the problem. "I don't' know that we really know this will work. That was from study done several years ago and that was the recommendation, but we don't know what's changed environmentally," said Hayes.

And the cost to built the berm could put the speedway owners out of business. "I think they are going to look into the berm and see the costs and its going to be tough," said Stone.

Citizens are also disappointed because they would still hear the noise for the next several months. "They would be able to race what they requested while they are building the berm in eight months," said Hudgins.

But commissioners hope that at the end of the construction both will be satisfied. Albany Motor Speedway has 10 days to decide to build the berm. If they decide not to build it, their re-zone request would be denied.

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