NASCAR Or NWEAA?
Snohomish County say they think they have the "inside track" on a
new NASCAR speedway that could be built near Marysville (WA).
There's just one problem. It would be built right next to Arlington
Airport, often cited by ANN as one of the best aviation facilities
in the country.
The Snohomish County Business Journal quotes Marysville Mayor
Dennis Kendall as saying, "We see this track as a centerpiece for
additional economic development in north Snohomish County. How is
that area going to be developed? Like a Kent Valley filled with
warehouses and light industrial businesses, or with this track as a
master-planned site that will contribute more economically with
only a few races a year than all of the other types of piecemeal
development that could go there."
But what about the airport, home to the world's third-biggest
EAA fly-in? Kendall tells the Business Journal he doesn't think it
would be affected at all by the proposed NASCAR track. In fact, he
suggested the airport might benefit from the construction of a
multimillion dollar race track nearby "if the track spurs
additional air traffic that leads to establishing a permanent
control tower and an instrument landing system." What the Mayor
conveniently forgot to mention, though, were the restrictions to
flight that often come when large numbers of persons gather
together at public events... i.e., excessive flight
Now, wait a minute. Do airport tenants and fly-in attendees
really want this thing?
Dan Tarasievich says no. In a letter written to Arlington Mayor
Margaret Larson, the owner of Para-Phernalia, a highly respected
maker of emergency parachute systems, said, "In my opinion the
addition of a NASCAR track with its noise, pollution, and over
70,000 spectators will destroy our quality of life here (even if it
is for just 3 times a year)!"
Then there's the issue of TFRs in place over major sporting
events -- like NASCAR races. Marysville Chief Administrative
Officer Mary Swenson told the Snohomish Business Journal,
"Experimental planes will still be a huge part of that airport. ...
The ISC said it will not operate the same weekend as the Arlington
Fly-In (which draws 50,000 visitors each year)... also, even under
FAA rules for restricting airspace during a NASCAR event, planes
can still take off and land, they just can’t fly over the
stadium." [or within several miles of it, if a TFR is in
The Arlington Airport Commission sides with Tarasievich in
opposing the construction of a NASCAR track near the airport. Mayor
Larson and the Arlington City Council are leery, but have
reportedly taken a wait-and-see attitude -- contrary to the
position held in Marysville. But pilots and business operators
at Arlington seem uniformly against the development, one local
flyer noting, "with all the problems we have staying in business
and/or using our airplanes, the last thing we need is another way
for the powers-that-be to restrict our freedoms. This is a disaster
in the making."