News 12, First at 5, February 24, 2010
GROVETOWN, Ga.---Dirt bike riders and fans are one step closer to a new state of the art track.
Earlier this month Columbia County commissioners gave the green light to add a track to Gordon Park, the speedway on Gordon Highway-- but not everyone's excited about the noise.
Track promoters say business is booming and a new track is a must, but neighbors to the track say it's already noisy without adding more dirt bikes.
For months they've been racing dirt bikes at Gordon Park.
In the blink of an eye, it's become a hit, with hundreds of people racing and filling the stands on an average weekend. Now Gordon Park is working to get a bigger and better track.
"We expect to draw in a lot of people from all around Georgia to this track. This is going to be a premiere track of Georgia's," says track promoter Chris Folgman.
The new Augusta MX track will be on a little more than twenty acres next to the current speedway.
Neighbors Alexander Jackson and Leo Libbey say it'll be practically in their backyard.
"It's not like it's there every single day but when they are racing it is just so loud, especially the loudspeakers," says neighbor Leo Libbey.
They say they can hear the racing from their living rooms. "I love outdoor sports, I have nothing against it but I guess maybe as the year goes, the points race heat up and you getting louder and louder," adds neighbor Alexander Jackson.
But track promoters say the noise level is staying under the county restrictions. "We've done testing out here when we had about 100 racers out here with about 300 to 400 spectators and we no where near approached the decibel limitation of 60 DB's at 500 yards," says Folgman.
But some neighbors wonder where the expansion will end. "I worry about what's coming next that's going to even be louder," says Libbey.
Both groups say if complaints roll in after the new track is built, they'll look for solutions.
"It's not that much money to take down a few speakers and maybe put up a barrier or two," says Libbey.
"Any challenges we're willing to definitely to work those challenges out," adds Folgman.
To give you some perspective, the county restricts anything louder than 60 decibels from 500 yards away. According to the sound institute, a normal conversation is 65 decibels and a rock concert is 125 decibels.
Right now the track is in it's planning phase, but can be built in less than 60 days. They plan to build it in phases, adding lights later on, which means until then riders will have to get off when it gets dark.