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Coalition is opposing Thornburg raceway
An artist's rendering shows the grandstand for the proposed Dominion Raceway on about 400 acres in Spotsylvania.
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BY BILL FREEHLING
A group calling itself "The Coalition to Preserve the Thornburg Countryside" has sent Spotsylvania County officials a letter voicing its opposition to the Old Dominion Speedway's planned relocation to Thornburg.
The letter, sent this week to the Spotsylvania Board of Supervisors and School Board, expresses concerns about noise and the raceway's impact on traffic, nearby schools, the environment and the area's rural feel. It also questions whether the revenue the county would generate from the raceway would cover traffic-mitigation requirements.
"We believe it would be a mistake for anyone to prematurely conclude a race track would result in a net economic gain for Spotsylvania," the letter says.
Steve Britt is principal owner of the Old Dominion Speedway, which has operated in the Manassas area for more than 60 years. The site is now hemmed in by residential development, leading to frequent noise complaints.
Britt is under contract to sell the 40 acres where the speedway is currently located to a homebuilder in April. He's also under contract to purchase 160 acres on the northeast corner of the Thornburg interchange off Interstate 95 for the new facility, which he plans to call the Dominion Raceway.
The sale is contingent on various government approvals from Spotsylvania and transportation officials.
Britt hopes to open the Dominion Raceway in Spotsylvania in the spring of 2014. The roughly $10 million facility would include an oval track for stock-car racing, a drag strip and a road course.
He wants to create a racing-focused entertainment complex that could also be used year-round for festivals, concerts, karting, collector car auctions, drive-in movies and other special events. There will be pad sites for additional businesses wishing to go there.
The Coalition to Preserve the Thornburg Countryside has a website and Facebook page called "Stop The Raceway." Its letter calls the group a "fast-growing coalition of Thornburg-area residents and Spotsylvania citizens" but doesn't say who any of those people are.
Joyce Ackerman, who lives near the proposed site, said a group of about 15 Thornburg residents met at her home last week to voice their concerns about the additional traffic and noise the raceway would create. The website and Facebook pages sprung in part from that meeting.