Commission gets sneak peak of racetrack
Long before the last pitch was thrown, Columbus residents have been conflicted about future uses for Cooper Stadium.
An official remedy to that delima has yet to be presented, but one proposal on the table by Arshot Investment Corporation is to turn the 46-acre site into a motorsports complex that could feature restaurants, a speedway, a go-kart track and a drag strip on the grounds.
Arshot has a contract on the land until May 2010, pending zoning approval for their project.
Opposition to the motorsports complex, specifically the drag racing strip and the noise it could potentially bring to the surrounding communities, has been fierce, but the Southwest Area Commission has remained neutral to the proposal until more information is released by the developers.
During their November meeting, the commission discussed the possibility of having representatives from Arshot Investment Corp. attend their Dec. 16 meeting, but no clear indication of attendance was given. However, the commission was invited to a “sneak peak” of the motorsports complex on Nov. 19.
Commissioner and secretary Stefanie Coe said at the Dec. 16 commission meeting that the drawings they were shown included a 35-foot wall around the track, a hotel, office spaces and a building for car or exhibition shows.
Coe added the plans did not include a drag racing strip, and they were not given the results of the developer’s noise studies, as they were not completed at the time of the meeting.
One group that is opposed to the motorsports complex is Redevelop Our Area Responsibly (ROAR), a coalition of local business owners and residents of the neighborhoods surrounding Cooper Stadium.
ROAR commissioned an independent noise study by the Noise Consultancy, LLC, to find out how the area could be impacted by the volume of the complex.
“They found that the area within one-and-a-half miles up to two miles could be severely impacted by the noise coming from the racetrack,” said Mary Rhineheart, a ROAR member and President of the Abaco Rehabilitation and Nursing Facility, which is located near Cooper Stadium.
ROAR has also met with Arshot developers and suggested an alternative plan for the site, a sky garden.
Rhineheart explained at the Dec. 16 meeting that the eight-story building would be a combination of self-contained fish, vegetables, fruits and a flowers environment, used from vertical farming methods which employ the use of hydroponics and aeroponics to grow crops upwards rather than out.
This would be combined with state of the art technology, educational opportunities and tourism.
“I think it could be quite a project; something that we could be very proud of," Rhineheart said.
In related news, the commission said that Arshot developers plan to hold a public meeting, possibly at the Cooper Stadium site, when the plans are completed and the noise studies are finished as well.