Originally Published: November 5, 2016 6 a.m.
Motorsports in Chino Valley will have to wait. The Yavapai College District Governing Board, which holds veto power over any motorsports facility at Old Home Manor, did not include looking at that proposal on its November agenda.
The five-person board does not meet in December, meaning it is likely they won’t look at it until January.
David Brinkley, who is behind the effort to build a speedway at Old Home Manor, said he still hopes to have racing next year, even if it is limited. Normally, racing schedules are set by Jan. 1 for the coming season, he said.
“We would like to continue to be optimistic about our ability to do that,” Brinkley said. “All things being equal, should we be able to secure everything sometime in January, it is feasible that we could racing sometime in the 2017 season.”
While Town of Chino Valley officials and Brinkley seek the college’s blessing, residents opposed to a speedway organized. Some have started a petition drive and have already collected more than 200 signatures, said Robin Schwartz, a resident of the Brightstar subdivision who has been one of the leaders of the petition effort.
She said residents have concerns about noise levels, dust, high-volume traffic on low-traffic roads, and the impact on the values of their property if a speedway is built within a couple of miles of their homes.
“We had the same issues when we opened back up, heard the same thing from the neighbors,” said Bugs Norbury, the former general manager of Prescott Valley Speedway. He lives in Chino Valley. “Like the first week, they were concerned. After that, they were like you never really noticed it.”
Prescott Valley Raceway reopened in January, 2013 after being shut down for two years that was caused when Yavapai Downs ceased operations.
Some of the residents who spoke at the Town Council’s call to the public last week wondered why they wanted racing in Chino Valley instead of the old track at Prescott Valley. And why did the PV track close if it was successful.
“The race track was totally successful, it made money,” Norbury said. “It was the big picture that didn’t work, the horse track that didn’t work. The race track made money, it just didn’t make enough to pay off the loans they took out to build the horse racing track.”
Norbury said he hopes racing comes to Chino Valley and the concerns of residents are not as bad as they fear.
“I guarantee you that rock pit on Perkinsville Road puts out more dust, and has more traffic, than you will get from racing, and they don’t seem to mind that.”
Yavapai College’s Agribusiness and Science Technology campus is less than a half-mile from where Brinkley hopes to build Old Home Speedway. The college negotiated into its lease agreement with the town a veto of any motorsports facility at Old Home Manor.
The Town Council agreed to an outline of a lease agreement with Brinkley. If the college board gives its blessing, then the next stage would be to iron out a formal lease agreement and for a tech review of the site plan to be completed.
The college board may request changes to the lease outline that both the town and Brinkley would have to consider.
Norbury said he suspects many of the residents who are upset about a potential race track now will be surprised when if one built.
“You’re not running that long, you run for 10 minutes and then have a 15- minute break,” he said. “It’s not like they’re running for five hours straight.”