Marysville plans NASCAR field trips

MARYSVILLE – Three City Council members and at least two members of the city’s new racetrack advisory committee will visit NASCAR racetracks this fall to gather still more information on how the races affect traffic and neighborhoods.

The city will pick up the tab. The costs were not known Tuesday.

Council members’ expenses will be paid out of the City Council budget. Committee members’ expenses will be paid out of money the city set aside for economic development, the city’s chief administrative officer, Mary Swenson, said.

International Speedway Corp., which owns the track in Fontana, Calif., and would own a track here, is paying for the group’s race tickets.

“This (proposed track) is of such significance that I think it would be a disservice not to send people to a race, especially the decision-makers,” Swenson said. “I think it’s important that they have an opportunity to view a race and talk to some people.

“I still feel confident that we have the top site,” Swenson said. “We wouldn’t be spending money if we didn’t feel like we were in contention.”

The city budgeted $125,022 for economic development, with most of that going to a new position for an economic development coordinator. That position hasn’t been filled yet.

So far, the city has spent about $10,356 of the economic development money, with about $3,000 of that paying for some temporary help to look at some details of the proposed racetrack site in north Marysville.

Swenson, Mayor Dennis Kendall and Councilman Jon Nehring attended a NASCAR race earlier this year in Fontana.

Council members Lisa Vares, John Soriano and Jeff Vaughan, and two racetrack committee members, will attend another race in Fontana over Labor Day weekend, Swenson said.

City officials called each committee member. Jim Lonneker and Bob McClure said they wanted to go. Another committee member, Guy Kennedy, wasn’t available but may be able to join the group, Swenson said. McClure, an Arlington School Board member, recently joined the committee.

There also could be space available for some committee members at a race in Kansas City in October. The Kansas City track is more like the proposed Marysville track than the Fontana track, Swenson said.

Council members hope to speak to people who live near the Fontana track.

“That’s the most valuable part. You get the perspective of how many people are at the event and how the crowd behavior is,” Swenson said.

Many of the committee members have questions they want answered, particularly regarding noise, traffic and the potential effect of races on the Arlington Airport, she said. There are two airports within 10 miles of Fontana.

Arlington City Councilman Graham Smith is planning to check out a NASCAR race, too. He decided to wait until the big-league Nextel Cup circuit stops in Kansas City on Oct. 10.

“My preference was to go to the track that was going to be similar to the one out here,” Smith said.

Smith lives in the hillside Gleneagle neighborhood a few miles from the proposed track site. Some Gleneagle residents have expressed opposition to the track.

Smith said he wants to hear how loud the race is and see how crowd control is handled.

Arlington will pay for his travel expenses and ISC will cover his ticket costs, he said.

Reporter Cathy Logg: 425-339-3437 or logg@heraldnet.com.

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