Augusta Dragway?

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September 21, 2005
There’s one in Charlotte and one in Atlanta and now commissioners want to bring a National Dragway facility to Augusta. News 12 is on your side to show you how the new dragway could mean a boost in Augusta’s economy.

The Masters Tournament brings in about $40 million a year to Augusta. But this proposed drag racing facility could bring in 30 million more. And while some commissioners are ready to give the green light on planning for the project, one commissioner is saying not so fast.

It’s one of the country’s largest spectator sports.

“One time it was a kid’s game on the street but now professional people are doing this kind of racing,” said Marion Williams.

And commissioner Marion Williams is not just a spectator, he’s been drag racing since the 1960’s. So it’s no surprise that he’s at the starting line for a race to bring a million dollar dragway facility to Augusta.

“This is something that will bring a lot of economic dollars to Augusta,” Williams said.

Yesterday, commissioners met with the International Hotrod Association to discuss how a dragway would serve as a catalyst for new business and community involvement. The association said that just one national race could bring in 30 million dollars a year.

The million-dollar facility would be built off Mike Padgett Highway on 250 acres of land that the city already owns.

And at a cost of $5 million to build, all the commissioners are showing interest in the new dragway, except for one.

“This is something we can talk about, but we should decide this later on because of funding,” said Bobby Hankerson.

But while Mr. Hankerson says wait, City Administrator Fred Russell says the funding is available and the track is one more thing Augusta could be proud of.

“Augusta has a tradition in sports and tradition in sports competition and we’re just building on that with this program,” Russell said.

“It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out. Anybody who don’t support this has got to have a different from bringing economic dollars to Augusta,” Williams said.

The commission voted to go ahead with planning. City Administrator Fred Russell said they will be coming up with a preliminary proposal within 90 days but the earliest we would see anything being constructed would be this time next year.