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EDC head urges caution on NASCAR pitch

Kitsap County may again be on track to host a NASCAR facility, but a key supporter of the idea advocates proceeding with care and cautions against welcoming a facility with no restrictions.  

“In recent months, advancement of the project in Snohomish County led to a media circus and tore the fabric of that community,” said David Porter, executive director of the Kitsap County Economic Development Council. “I want no such results here. Some local hearts are already a-flutter. I say be still, thoughtful and patient. This is not a deal to be had at any cost.”

The advice was part of Porter’s weekly dispatch to the Kitsap Community, an e-mail newsletter called “Monday Morning Over Coffee.”

Porter said the withdrawal of the Marysville site surprised many participants, including the sponsoring International Speedway Corp. But ISC is still interested in developing a Northwest presence and, according to spokesman John Graham “everything is now back on the table.”

“We should remain open to the possibilities and willing to engage ISC officials in productive, confidential discussions,” Porter wrote. “We earlier distinguished ourselves taking this approach. Should things come our way, we can again mobilize a first-class team to prepare the community’s response — to explore options, to secure commitment, to structure a deal that honors the long term interests of Kitsap County. Once we have done the full-circle thinking that is necessary and appropriate, we can engage the community at large.”

Porter said the raceway provides only one possibility for the property, which is adjacent to Bremerton Airport.

“We have already invested significant resources in identifying and positioning these 2000-plus acres for future development,” he wrote. “The ISC raceway is simply an opportune prospect, albeit one that is world-class. There is no need to shove and scramble, to snipe and smear. Yes, unanswered questions remain. Yes, there are valid concerns about traffic, noise, aviation impacts, water quality, return on investment, etc. And we will address them all with wit and wisdom.”

Porter predicted that overtures may be forthcoming in the next several weeks. He said there’s no need to respond in haste, and that all parties now prefer to proceed with more measured steps and less irrational exuberance than in the earlier negotiations.

“Regardless of how it comes out, we earned the right to be in this game. Let us play well together. The win will be that much more delicious and the loss less burdensome.”

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