KRCC asks city for its NASCAR concerns

In an effort to evaluate Port Orchard residents’ concerns regarding a NASCAR racetrack in Kitsap County, the Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council (KRCC) has asked Mayor Kim Abel and the heads of other local cities and agencies to ask citizens for their input and report back.

Abel asked both councilmembers and the public to voice their concerns in a discussion at the regular City Council meeting on Monday night.

General response to the track was favorable.

Downtown resident and council candidate Fred Chang said he thought the discussion was premature because the International Speedway Corp. (ISC) had not yet issued a proposal to the county.

However, he said he had discussed the matter with many Port Orchard residents.

Chang said that although the people he’s spoken with didn’t always agree on the issue, they did agree that they didn’t want a decision this important in the hands of just three individuals.

“All the people I’ve talked to have said they’d like a referendum,” Chang said. “They’d like the vote to be put to the people and not have just the three county commissioners deciding.”

Other suggestions included an open forum where the public could come and discuss the issue openly with area politicians, and improvements to the highway between Gorst and Belfair.

According to City Councilman Bob Geiger, Port Orchard’s transportation infrastructure could handle an influx in traffic much the same way Puyallup handles traffic from the Wwstern Washington Fair, one of the largest fairs in the country.

Councilwoman Rita DiIenno concluded that although the discussion is premature, she hopes the surrounding counties — King, Pierce, Mason and perhaps Snohomish — share the costs as well as the benefit.

She also said she fully endorses a referendum vote on the issue.

“These are great suggestions,” Abel said. “I’ll be sure to bring them up to the (KRCC).”

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