|01-28-2008, 09:14 AM||#1|
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Vintage auto racetrack proposal goes before ArapCo
Steven Vetter - STRASBURG — A proposed vintage auto racetrack in eastern Arapahoe County could start construction in February or March pending commissioners’ approval today (Jan. 22).
Charlie Thompson, manager of the Colorado Amateur Motorsport Association, told I-70 Corridor Chamber of Commerce board members Jan. 16 that his group is awaiting final approval from Arapahoe County Commissioners for High Plains Raceway, a 21/2-mile road race track planned 17 miles east of Byers on the north side of Highway 36.
“CAMA is composed of 12 not-for-profit clubs and about 6,000 members statewide, all amateur vintage car enthusiasts. In the late ‘90s we took over management of Second Creek Raceway (85th Avenue and Tower Road). We operated it for six years, but Reunion built up and we shut down the track,” Thompson said. “We looked around Watkins, especially near Imboden road, but financially and to be good neighbors we felt we needed to move out further east. We met with Frank Linnebur, who introduced us to his folks, and we came up with a tentative agreement to purchase 465 acres. It’s really more land than we need, but it allows us to spread out and expand to another track if demanded.”
The land purchase is dependent on approval by special review by the Arapahoe County Commissioners, whose final hearing on the issue is today.
“It’s been a long process and we have gone through all the requests and paperwork and are hopefully looking to move forward after commissioners’ approval,” Thompson said. “We have a large portion of our cash together to buy the land and to start with the dirt work and laying of the asphalt. We will hopefully be starting to turn dirt in a few weeks, if approved. We would hopefully be ready to open up within the year, perhaps next summer. The top layer of asphalt is a type requiring 75 degrees and six weeks to cure, so that means getting it started by early to mid-July.”
The track is expected to be open 32 weeks a year between April and October, especially focusing on the weekends.
“We stress this is for amateurs, not professional, drivers. We have members that are race enthusiasts and travel across the country to those just like to get out on the track once in a while or learn about their car,” Thompson said. “It’s like we’re revitalizing our childhoods again. This is not for NASCAR or the Denver Grand Prix.
“We also have a track down at a vacant part of the airport at La Junta that we try to use about eight weekends a year, but this track would be more of a home for a lot of our members. We could also probably draw some national events, having a home track.”
Phase I, including the road track, another race pad used for obstacle and timed events, a three-story main building, a paddock area with garages, a 500-capacity grandstand, and electrical hookups will take up approximately 220 acres, with another 245 acres that could be developed later.
“We currently have the eastern half planned for the track and other facilities and have IREA access coming in from the southeast corner,” Thompson said. “The main building will include officials and timing boxes on the third floor and concessions and restrooms on the bottom floor.”
Most events are expected to draw 500-700 people, with some drawing 1,500-2,000.
“Most people make a full weekend of coming out to the track and we have already been in contact with Wil Chase and Gary May about the possibility of hotel space in the area,” Thompson said. “This could be a real economic boost to the area — restaurants, stores and hotels/motels could really see the benefit.”
Chase responded that he and Thompson have been in touch with each other about the benefits High Plains Raceway could bring the I-70 Corridor.
“This is true economic development,” Chase said. “This is a great opportunity to bring more people to the area and stimulate the business activity in the area."
In memory of Jim Coffey, James Matlock, Junior Reeder, Harvey Webb Sr, Lucky Beickman, Dale Deter, Dick Gastineau, RIP my fellow racers, RIP Mom
|01-28-2008, 09:48 AM||#2|
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American by Birth, Biker by Choice
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|02-01-2008, 07:09 AM||#3|
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Steven Vetter - LITTLETON — The Arapahoe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved by special review an amateur auto racetrack in far eastern Arapahoe County during a Jan. 22 public hearing.
Construction of a 21/2-mile road racetrack at the 435-acre High Plains Raceway site 17 miles east of Byers on Highway 36 is expected to start over the next few weeks. The facility will be owned and operated by the Colorado Amateur Motorsports Association, which has approximately 6,000 members, including 1,500 actively racing automobiles.
During testimony, Bill Howard, president of Plan West Inc., the developer of the project, said the racetrack was necessary because CAMA lost Second Creek Raceway at 85th Avenue and Tower Road in Aurora in 2005, and that the eastern location of the course mitigates the number of neighbors to be impacted by noise and additional traffic on the highway. He also noted the facility would be an economic stimulus for businesses along the I-70 Corridor and pointed out commissioners approved for special review the Lead Valley Shooting Range on a neighboring property.
“We have even talked with businesses in Byers and have said we will have fuel on the site, but it’s race fuel only. We will have no diesel or regular gas. We want people to buy their gas and other supplies locally,” said Howard, a CAMA member and an amateur racer.
Despite fewer neighbors in the area, some farmers and ranchers stated their opposition to the project, citing noise, traffic, trespass and water concerns.
“I live a couple of miles off of Highway 36 and I can hear when one truck is driving it. I’m sure I will be able to hear however many cars they will have out here and I don’t want that,” said neighbor Kent Caudill, one of three ranchers that live within five miles of the site. “There is also a lot of large agricultural vehicles that already take up the road and I expect there to be more accidents because of more traffic. We are also already having problems with the shooting range because of trespass. There are a lot of private drives and access roads into fields and pasture, but they aren’t for other people to use and trespass on.”
Finally, Caudill said he relies on a waterway that traverses the raceway site and is concerned the quality of water would be compromised with the racetrack.
Howard responded that the facility will have two drainage ponds that will keep any potentially-contaminated water from reaching potable groundwater sources.
“We have groundwater rights there too,” he said.
Howard said Caudill isn’t the first neighbor to inquire about trespass and livestock safety, citing previous discussion with resident Brian Downing, who neighbors to the north.
“It would be interesting to have cattle on the track, but we don’t want that to happen. We will work to get a fence built between us,” Howard said. “As far as the trespass issue, a chain link combo fence will be constructed around the perimeter. We aren’t concerned about trespassing off our site.”
When addressing the traffic issue, Howard said most racers bring their cars in on big truck-and-trailer rigs and that agriculture traffic wouldn’t be an issue.
“A lot of our hauling rigs go 30-40 miles per hour, so that shouldn’t be a big deal,” Howard said.
Commissioner Rod Bockenfeld asked about emergency services, which will be provided by the Deer Trail Volunteer Fire Department.
“We have received concerns from Deer Trail Fire that they would be out at the track all the time, but we assured them that wouldn’t be the case,” Howard said. “We have our own medical services available at the site and will have an ambulance at most events, especially every sanctioned event. We have fire extinguishers in all trailers, cars and at all corners on the track.”
The commissioners approved the racetrack pending a final agreement between CAMA and Anadarko for oil and gas well access. An attorney representing Anadarko said the company is only asking CAMA for two access points compared to the eight spots legally allowed.
Howard indicated confidence in getting an agreement with Anadarko completed in short time.
When a gas and oil agreement might be reached was unknown, but CAMA officials have indicated a desire to start dirt work at the property before spring, because the special asphalt to be used on the road track requires a lengthy curing time at 70 degrees or hotter.
The road track is first on the agenda for Phase I, to be followed by a set of buildings to include a three-story scoring tower with concessions and restrooms on the bottom floor, garages and a caretaker home. An auto cross pad to be used for driver training and timed events is also planned for Phase I.
“We have been in contact with both Arapahoe and Douglas county sheriff’s departments and they have shown interest in possibly training out there,” Howard said. “That would be a wonderful opportunity.”
Phase I will include about 230 acres, with the remaining land remaining vacant.
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|02-01-2008, 07:16 AM||#4|
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That's great news! Gives one hope.... They have definitely thought this out.
RIP Bill Stanford - Deputy Chief, Cheyenne Police Department 10/12/61 - 8/13/07
Cancer is so limited....
It cannot cripple Love, it cannot shatter Hope, it cannot corrode Faith, it cannot destroy Peace. It cannot kill Friendship, it cannot suppress Memories, it cannot silence Courage or invade the Soul. It cannot steal Eternal Life nor conquer the Spirit.
Last edited by terry; 02-01-2008 at 07:31 AM.