Racetrack officials plan public meetings

While Kitsap County waits for a formal proposal from the International Speedway Corp. about building a local racetrack, those involved are scheduling events in order to discuss the project and all the accompanying issues.

“I don’t think we’ll really know anything until we see the financial package,” said Kitsap Economic Development Commission Executive Director David Porter. “We need to gather more information about all the issues, the noise, the traffic. But we won’t really have the answers until the financial package is on the table.”

Porter is participating in a mini-tour, which will include three visitors from Kansas City, Mo., including ISC spokesman Stann Tate. They will visit locations in Pierce, Mason and Kitsap counties, discussing business issues. Most of these meetings will be public.

“I hope we have a good number of public forums to discuss the issues,” Porter said. “We need to get some answers, but we don’t want keep recycling the same information.”

The major Kitsap stop is scheduled for Aug. 30, when the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a lunch meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Silverdale, featuring a panel discussion conducted by industry and tourism experts.

These includes Cindy Cash of the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Bridgette Jobe of the Kansas City Visitors and Convention Bureau, Ralph Morton of the Seattle Sports Council, Kitsap Peninsula Economic Development Council Executive Director Grant Griffin, as well as Tate and Porter.

While this meeting will focus on business issues, more personal issues can arise at the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners will hold a listening session from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 6 at Klahowya High School in Silverdale.

Since the ISC proposal is not expected until October at the soonest, the commissioners will not be able to answer any specific questions. Instead, they will act as a public sounding board and attempt to answer the question as the answers become available.

“This is only a way for the public to voice their opinions,” said county spokeswoman Lisa Holmer. “It’s so the commissioners can hear the public’s perceptions. This is not part of the formal approval process.”

After ISC submits its proposal, which will indicate exactly what it plans for track construction, the Department of Community Development will hold hearings to examine the proposal and make recommendations to the commissioners.

The commissioners have indicated the public will not vote on the track’s approval. So if residents have strong opinions one way or another, they will need to lobby the commissioners directly or attend public meetings in order to make their feelings known.

The Chamber of Commerce luncheon requires reservations and a ticket; $20 for Chamber member and $25 for non members.

For reservations call (360) 479-3579.

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