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Port Orchard Chamber endorses racetrack plan

The Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce last week announced that its board of directors supports the idea of building a NASCAR racetrack facility in South Kitsap.

“That opinion is based on the information we have received so far,” said Chamber president Billi Gurnsey, explaining that a vote was taken at a board retreat Nov. 4, and that all of the approximately 12 directors — out of 15 total — present voted to support the concept.

Gurnsey said the board’s decision is based on several discussions the members have had with both local and state officials, and with representatives from four communities that currently host similar racetracks — Kansas City, Kan.; Fontana, Calif.; Chicagoland-Joliette, Ill.; and Brooklyn, Mich..

“The unanimous enthusiasm with which Nextel Cup host cities embrace International Speedway Corp....and their testimony of expansive economic growth is a major reason for our decision,” Gurnsey said in a press release.

Gurnsey said the chamber’s primary focus is to promote local businesses, including tourism, and both areas would be given a boost by a track locating here.

In her press release, Gurnsey acknowledged that the impacts might not all be positive, but that the amount of potential positives outweighed the possible negatives.

“We believe local businesses have the opportunity to experience economic growth and increased revenue resulting from international media exposure and increased tourism,” she wrote. “We acknowledge that a project of such proportions presents obvious fiscal, environmental and social concerns, but we believe the potential benefits to our community by way of investment in infrastructure and job creation outweigh any potential risks.”

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