|Concerning Speedway Redevelopment
Your paper has published several articles that question the wisdom of the SpeedZone Master Plan and the decision to move forward during this economic recession. I think some of the things being printed in the Navigator reflect the opinions of a small number of people who live here who seem to be against the plan as written.
In your latest article Jo Ellen Dotlich makes some assertions that I don't feel are quite accurate and are misleading. In order to show balance in reporting to those who subscribe to your paper I would like to make observations that conflict with those of Ms. Dotlich.
Speedway has been slowly decaying and the property values have been slipping for several years. The fact is that some of our property owners have allowed their property to become an eyesore. Others have let their property decay while taking rent monies and not investing in upkeep. The problem predates to the seventies. No effort has been made to keep Speedway a vibrant commercial and residential community. The current residents have recognized a need to completely redo Speedway and give it a new identity. It is our intent to attract new business and put a stop to declining property values. The main opposition to these efforts seems grounded in those who have sat idly by for the past forty years and allowed the property values to decline. Had they been vigilant in their corporate responsibilities to maintain or improve on the property they owned the scope of the current redevelopment would be different.
Through a series of meetings, workshops and community outreach programs a master plan was developed to enhance the area south of the Motor Speedway, Main Street and north to 25th Street. Much of what was done around the Motor Speedway was done in response to local, state and federal safety personnel. The realignment of 16th Street was dictated by these needs. It is impossible to make everyone in the process happy, but the best solutions were reached through a collaborative effort. To make an assertion that the IMS is not engaged and will not remain engaged in this redevelopment effort is unconscionable. The IMS, Allison and Praxair have always been good corporate partners and are included in the few in the area to constantly improve on what they have.
"Taking of property" While it is true that there are a few individuals and companies who will be displaced by the redevelopment, it is grossly inaccurate to imply that the Town of Speedway is just confiscating their property. Businesses will receive assistance in relocating to a new location within the new industrial park or if they are a land owner and do not wish to be relocated they will be compensated at "fair market price". That means they will receive what the property is worth, not an inflated price. In the case of those who live in the trailer parks, an effort will be made to assist in their relocation.
"Nepotism" Speedway is a small town. It is difficult under the best of conditions to find enough people willing to give of their time to serve the many boards, committees and working groups it takes to undertake a project of this size. As in any small town in the country, there are a few individuals who are always willing to step forward and fill these
needs. There are many families who have siblings, cousins, aunt, uncles and other relatives that assist as well. It is the nature of "small town USA". You can not fill these boards with people who will not work in a cooperative spirit and expect good outcomes. You can only hope that those chosen truly have the best interest of the community in mind at all times.
"Economic Concerns" Ms Dotlich must be unaware that the last two recessions that our country went through were overcome by deficit spending and lowering of interest rates. She uses the economy as a scare tactic, hoping a large enough number of citizens will show enough concern to stop the redevelopment effort. It is exactly during these economic times it makes most sense to push forward. In the process of moving forward hopefully our SRC is able to secure some of the federal funding that will be targeted toward communities that are being identified for infrastructure projects. The federal government has already lowered the prime interest rate to near 0. They are now in the process of producing a deficit spending bill.
John P Rust