Sunday, November 21, 2004

Racetrack Denial

Probably the toughest decision I have had to make on my four years service on the Peoria County Board was my vote to deny the Racetrack to be built on prime farmland west of Brimfield. My decision was based on the following criteria:

The unanimous denial by the Peoria County Board of Appeals.

The denial by a 5-1 vote of the Peoria County Land Use Committee.

Illinois House Smart Growth Task Force Findings and Recommendations dated 1/12/99, Final Report.

2002 Household Survey Findings on Behalf of Peoria County (Bradley University, Dr. Bernie Goitien).

Growth Policy and Strategic Survey Results, Peoria County Comprehensive Plans (1992, 1996, and 2003).

A study by the Pew Foundation in 1993 called “Making Community Coalitions Work”.

Strong opposition of residents within a 21/2 mile radius of the proposed site.

The racetrack would be built on some of the best farmland in the United States.

Over 100 articles I have read on controlled growth plus five books on the same subject.

Various meetings I have attended dealing with controlled growth and community planning.

Heartland Partnership, which is over the Tri-County Economic Development Council and the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce originally endorsed this project but backed off this position in a letter addressed to the Peoria County Planning and Zoning Board on June 2, 2004 and signed by the Partnership’s President.

The Peoria County Board Strategic Growth Plan calls for expansion within the urban area before using up more flat farmland. During my service on the County Board, no subdivisions or apartment building have taken place on land within the jurisdiction of Peoria County. The recent move outward is on land annexed by the City of Peoria. Peoria County has no control over what is built in the City of Peoria. The city has the power to keep annexing. The city has actually lost population while greatly expanding the number of square miles requiring public service. This suburban push has financially strained the city,(TIF Zones, tax abatements and other financial incentives) the county, school districts and sanitary district services.

Planning for controlled growth in Peoria County takes total cooperation of coalitions of governmental bodies, the public, and private enterprise. Planning and cooperation among all concerned entities will bring tax dollars into Peoria County.

I wish Mr.Hellyer eventual success in his endeavors.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Would you rather the track be built within village limits somewhere? Where else would you want to put a racetrack other than in the middle of the country where it would only effect a few people?

I didn't hear one good argument that the track should have been denied. Prime farmland? Mr. Hellyer still owns that's not going to be farmed, so track or no track, your losing prime farmland.

I just hope this track goes in Tazewell County and becomes the sucess that Mr. Hellyer wants it to be. Someday when SPEED comes to town for televised IHRA races, they can say they're in Pekin instead of Peoria.

I can tell you, I'm biased. I am a race fan and I continually get frustrated over the way local governments treat race tracks and their fans. No one wants to look at the 4000 people a race brings to the area...the gas, hotel, and food that those people buy. All they want to do is make sure it's quiet during Jesus time.

Do the Peoria Chiefs bring that many people in one night? What about the Pirates? I don't think so.